August 7, 2017

Jabari Ford ’20 spent six weeks this summer using literacy to drive self-empowerment and community engagement through the Freedom School program supported by his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He describes it as a life-changing experience. “I’ve developed a passion for these kids that I’ve never had before.” His story appeared in The Dallas Morning News on July 3, 2017.

After he finishes reading a book, Jabari Ford looks down to see seven eager faces staring back at him.

The 18-year-old SMU sophomore didn’t ever envision himself in the role of an instructor. But here he is, in a classroom at Dallas ISD’s Pease Elementary in east Oak Cliff, with a group of young boys sitting — and squirming — on a rug in front of him as he reads.

It’s a life-changing experience.

“‘I’ve developed a passion for these kids that I’ve never had before,” he said.

Ford is one of a handful of college students and recent graduates teaching at Pease’s Freedom School, part of a national program launched by the Children’s Defense Fund. The six-week program is centered on reading, using literacy to drive self-empowerment and community engagement. It’s the first of its kind in Dallas.

Read more at SMU News.