The most outward sign that school is about to start, and in some communities already started, are school buses. Backpack laden students climb aboard fleets of yellow buses in their neighborhoods and arrived at school for days of learning, jostling social issues, and after school activities. The school calendar defines businesses, communities, and at the most personal level, families. So many of us take this regular cycle for granted.
Children living in economic distress and their families have a different view. Their stresses go beyond waking up early to start the day and deciding on how many extra-curricular activities can be squeezed into the week. Families living in shelters or in unstable housing worry about being able to send their kids to school.
The National Coalition for the Homeless in a factsheet on Education of Homeless Children reports:
The high mobility associated with homelessness has severe educational consequences. Homeless families move frequently due to limits on the length of shelter stays, search for safe and affordable housing or employment, or to escape abusive partners. All too often, homeless children have to change schools because shelters or other temporary accommodations are not located in their school district. In recent years, 42% of homeless children transferred schools at least once, and 51% of these students transferred twice or more (Institute for Children and Poverty, 2003).
Every time a child has to change schools, his or her education is disrupted. According to some estimates, 3-6 months of education are lost with every move. Homeless children are thus at high risk for falling behind in school due to their mobility. Without an opportunity to receive an education, homeless children are much less likely to acquire the skills they need to escape poverty as adults.
Let’s Help Kids supports children living in economic distress by providing children with the extras in life beyond the essential needs of food, clothing, and shelter. Our gift program brings a sense of happiness and normalcy to kids who are starting or restarting the school year at a new school. We reach out and help and that support to children and their families lets them know that there is a community for them and they are valued.
As the new school year is underway, remember the children who are pushing through new doors uncertain and scared. Make a donation to Let’s Help Kids today!