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Ella Baker Trainers

The CDF Freedom Schools program is committed to identifying, training, linking and nurturing a cadre of young leaders committed to service and advocacy on behalf of children. Each year, exceptional servant leader interns and/or site coordinators are selected as Ella Baker trainers (EBT) to lead the Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institutes, provide technical support for new sites and teach servant leader interns how to deliver key program components.

EBTs are important members of the national CDF Freedom Schools family. Their commitment and passion for children and youth, and expertise in the CDF Freedom Schools program, add tremendous value to the CDF Freedom Schools program nationwide.

Why Ella Baker?

Ella Josephine Baker was born in Norfolk, Virginia on December 13, 1903 and reared in Littleton, North Carolina.  Baker attended Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, graduating as class valedictorian in 1927 at the age of 24.  She then moved to New York City in search of employment.  Instead, she found people suffering from poverty and hardship caused by the Great Depression of the 1930’s and was introduced to radical political activism that became her life’s work.  In the early 1930’s, in one of her earliest efforts at implementing social improvement, she helped organize the Young Negroes Cooperative League, which was created to form cooperative groups that could pool community resources and thus provide less-expensive goods and services to members.

In 1957, Baker moved to Atlanta to organize Martin Luther King's new organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).  Baker left the SCLC after the Greensboro sit-ins.  She wanted to help the new student activists and organized a meeting at Shaw University for the student leaders of the sit-ins in April 1960.  From that meeting the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was born.  In 1964 SNCC helped create Freedom Summer, an effort to focus national attention on Mississippi’s racism and to register black voters.

Ella Baker believed young people had the ability to make a definite impact in the Civil Rights Movement.  Her influence was reflected in the nickname she acquired: "Fundi," a Swahili word meaning a person who teaches a craft to the next generation.

Become an Ella Baker Trainer!

What Are Ella Baker Trainer Responsibilities?

  • Deliver key components of the CDF Freedom Schools program at national training, such as the Integrated Reading Curriculum.
  • Serve as a resource for new and returning CDF Freedom Schools sponsor organizations; provide technical assistance and additional training at selected CDF Freedom Schools sites.
  • Assist in the seeding of new CDF Freedom Schools programs through training, workshop presentations, and site visits.
  • Fulfill other duties related to CDF Freedom Schools program development, support, and retention.


The 2015 application materials are now available. Please see the documents below for instructions regarding the application process.  For more information regarding this position, please contact Shaquite Pegues at

View the Ella Baker Trainer job description (.pdf).