Connections Provide Opportunities for 70 Young Scholars
Teacher and student working on reading assignment in classroom at work desk

Thanks to the record-setting funds raised at the CLT Charity Golf Tournament, dozens of children were able to attend a summer academic enrichment program. It’s an example of how Connections Don’t Just Happen at the Terminal.

Through its unique program, Freedom School Partners helps students maintain or even improve literacy skills during the summer months. More than that, it equips children with life-changing social, emotional and character-building tools.

Nadia Liriano says Freedom School was a transformative experience for her two children. “Freedom School really helped my 6-year-old son come out of his shell,” said Liriano. “He was a lower-level reader and because he struggled, he didn’t enjoy reading. Now, he’s confident and actually wants to read. Freedom School makes reading fun, and it makes being in the walls of a school a lot more fun.”

Airport Community Partnerships (ACP), supported by Charlotte Douglas International Airport, raised $115,384 at the April CLT Charity Golf Tournament for the Freedom School’s Renaissance West STEAM Academy, where Liriano’s children and dozens of other young scholars attended this past summer.

This is Freedom School’s largest site, serving students from across west Charlotte. It is considered an “unfunded” location because it doesn’t have a large faith or community partner supporting it financially.

“We are grateful that ACP chose to support Freedom School Partners and our Renaissance West scholars through this year’s golf tournament,” said Glenda Bernhardt, chief executive officer of Freedom School Partners. “Because of the generosity of the sponsoring companies, we provided an incredible experience to 70 children who otherwise would not have access to a summer learning and enrichment program.”

Liriano says Freedom School helped her children with so much more than reading. “My 11-year-old daughter already loved to read, but she struggled with her confidence,” Liriano said. “This summer, she took a leadership role in her class, and she found her personality. The social and emotional aspect of the program is why I support it 1,000%.”

For Charlotte Douglas International Airport employees like Stuart Hair, giving back is part of what being a good neighbor is all about. “You know we live in this area, we work in this area, and we're the primary employer in this area, so being a good part of this community is vitally important,” Hair said.

Since it first teed off in 2019, the golf tournament has raised nearly $362,000 for nonprofit neighbors on the west side, including Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont Construction Skills Center and the Renaissance West Community Initiative.

The 2023 tournament took place April 3 at the Ballantyne Country Club with 144 golfers participating in the sold-out event. Golfers competed in four-person teams and as individual awards for the longest drive, closest to the pin and a putting contest.

Airport Community Partners is made up of companies that operate out of, are based in, or have business with CLT. The Airport and its business partners come together through the ACP to make a difference in the community. Fifty-one businesses sponsored the ACP’s 2023 CLT Charity Golf Tournament.