The Freedom Project is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to educational excellence and leadership development in Sunflower County, Mississippi. We use the history and spirit of the 1960's freedom struggle to motivate young people to become capable and compassionate leaders in their communities.
The Freedom Project was founded by Chris Myers Asch, Shawn Raymond, and Gregg Costa in 1998. All three had served as Teach for America/Americorps teachers in Sunflower County and were thus acutely aware of the need for an educational program that would challenge and engage young people in the area.
Initially a summer program held at Mississippi Delta Community College, the Freedom Project grew into a year-round fellowship with a residential summer program at the University of Mississippi. In 2002, we purchased two abandoned buildings in Sunflower, Mississippi, and built the LEAD Center, a permanent home for all our programs.
Now in its 19th year, the Freedom Project offers middle and high school students intensive academic enrichment, mentoring, educational travel, physical education, drama performances, and art classes. Eleven consecutive classes of Freedom Fellows have graduated from Sunflower County high schools and enrolled in colleges around the country.