Our History

Founded in 1999 by its co-founders, Brandi Brown and Danyeal Grays, our organization, formerly known as Waymaker Life Strategies, Inc. underwent a transformative change in 2014. Originally operated by volunteers, the board made a strategic decision to transition from a volunteer-driven model to an organization with both passionate volunteers and the capacity to hire staff for expanded services.

In May 2014, Waymaker Life Strategies, Inc. was dissolved, and HYPE Freedom School, Inc. (HYPE) emerged with a more robust organizational infrastructure, continuing to provide the same services. In 2000, the organization gained national recognition when it was selected by Children’s Defense Fund to join community organizations across the country, becoming a local sponsor for the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools®. This six-week, literacy-rich summer program allowed us to reach hundreds of youth and families in areas like Sunnyside/South Park, Third Ward, Kashmere, and Wheatley. Serving as a model site in Texas, HYPE became the first Greater Houston-area site and the oldest CDF Freedom Schools site in the state. In addition, HYPE has partnered with numerous agencies seeking to implement the model in the most strategic and effective ways.

Since then, our commitment to consistency and determination has enabled the program to run every summer, providing support services throughout the school year for participating scholars. Through our comprehensive youth development model, the newly named organization has touched the lives of nearly 900 children and families, making a lasting impact on our community.

HYPE’s Mission

The mission of HYPE Freedom School, Inc. (HYPE) is to empower people with the knowledge they need to be successful and self-sufficient. The mission is accomplished by providing equitable and just opportunities to enhance the quality of life of economically disadvantaged youth and their families as well as college-age adults. HYPE assesses social and environmental conditions that may create barriers to program participation and/or quality of life and establishes communication with families to provide case management, counseling services, referrals to community resources, and other support. Through year-round literacy-based programming and positive youth development experiences that unlock pathways to upward mobility and a better quality of life, program participants are able to trust HYPE as a reliable and dependable source of support for countering barriers to social justice and racial equity.

Why are Out of School Time Programs So Important?

Research shows, children from low-income families have more restricted access to books, both in school and at home, than their more advantaged peers. Poor children are read to less often; have a more limited vocabulary; are particularly at risk of school failure, and are 3.5 times more likely to drop out of high school. In Texas, 70% of public school fourth graders read below grade level.

EDUCATION is the single most effective prevention against poverty, and our goal is to RAISE AWARENESS about the effectiveness of Freedom Schools so that even more Texas children may benefit.

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