Speaking Out for Homeless Kids

Speaking Out for Homeless Kids

I bought a house back in March. It wasn’t the ideal time with my son getting ready to graduate, and the thought of uprooting our little family in his last months before high school graduation was not something I wanted to do. However, my landlords were listing the house I’d been renting, and an opportunity to purchase my own home landed in my lap. During that time, my son barely paid attention, as his mind was already on his future and his life in college. My daughter, on the other hand, looked over every inch of our new home with me. We’d walk through the empty house and she’d talk about where our things could go and share ideas about how she and I would live (even what we’d eat) in our new home. We fell in love with it together and today, big brother all moved out, she and I make terrific ‘roomies,’ all set to enjoy her last couple of years at home.   Home. Every child should have the comfort of home, yet every child does not. In Henderson County, during the 2013-2014 school year, 314 students were counted as homeless. Of those students, 86 are what we call ‘unaccompanied homeless youth,’ or rather, youth experiencing homelessness who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. These children live in a variety of unsafe situations throughout our community including cars, parks, shelters, motels or ‘couch surfing,’ going from one friend’s house to another The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth reports that nationwide, it is estimated that approximately1.6 to...
A Mother’s Education is Key

A Mother’s Education is Key

When I think of college students, the image that comes to mind is one like my own; young, fresh-faced, 18-year-old boy on his way out my door, ready for the freedom and lessons of college life. I think of dorms, classes, new friends, parties and football games. Despite the work I do here at the Center, I rarely think of a student starting out, juggling classes, part-time jobs and possibly a child or two at home. In reality, according to Education Week, “experts say a young, often poor, working parent is becoming the most common college student.” A recent report from the Foundation for Child Development confirms something we’ve known for a long time. A mother’s education has an incredible influence on the well-being of her child’s life. The report analyzes 13 different economic, education and health indicators for children whose mothers have not graduated from high school, compared to children whose mothers have higher levels of education. The power of education on a young mother, as well as her children, is significant and should not be ignored. To change the next generation, to break cycles of poverty, we must focus on two generations: mother and child. The study confirmed what we see at the Children & Family Resource Center every day and why we put such a strong focus on education. Our programs are focused on the first years of a child’s life, with the intent to make sure young children are ready for success in school. This means we are working with parents, in their homes, to access their child’s development, identify and address any delays and...
Ready for Success

Ready for Success

As I write this, I have less than 76 hours before my son leaves for college.  The three of us; me, him and my daughter are gathered around the fire pit in my backyard. There’s a request to watch baby videos from when they were little this weekend. Oh my, can I do this? By now, I’ve had three breakdowns in the last six days and one mini one in my office with my coworkers.  I took the first part of the week off and we spent time tubing down the Green River, buying things for his dorm room, and I’ve somehow managed to turn into a domestic goddess as a stay at home mom…cooking breakfast, big dinners, and packing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for picnics.  Where has the time gone? I remember when he was born, older mothers would warn me to enjoy it because it goes by so fast.  I’d nod my head and smile politely, having absolutely no clue how right they were, and how in these last hours I’d wish for nothing more than to grab the clocks and turn back time.  I want a do over. These days it’s me I hear telling young mothers to enjoy this…it’s gonna fly by. They are nodding and smiling politely, and I just want to look them in the eyes and say, “LISTEN to me…hear this truth.” I can’t help but think about the parents with babies getting ready to take their first steps into a Kindergarten classroom. I remember, just like it is for me now, the emotions, tears, fears and joy for your child...