By Kimberly Paulk at SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits.
“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Teresa
The national average graduation rate for homeless children is less than 25%.
That’s not the reality that most of us see every day. My son, for instance, comes home from school to a safe, calm environment. He pulls his school supplies out of his bookbag, grabs a snack to refuel, and sits down to work. If he needs more of anything – paper, another pencil, or even a new backpack, he doesn’t worry about whether or not he can get it.
These everyday things are advantages a homeless child only dreams about. He or she may be coming “home” to a shelter, a pay-by-the-week hotel, an apartment or home where they are doubled- or tripled-up with another family, or even to a car. There is likely no calm, quiet space to work, with easy access to supplies. What’s more, homeless kids are sick four times as often as other kids. That’s a lot of missed homework assignments.
In 2013-14 there were 4,131 homeless kids in CMS. That’s a big number, but today is a great day to do something about it. A Child’s Place steps into the gap to remove barriers to childhood education created by homelessness. One way they do this is by providing student resources – school supplies, backpacks, field trips, school clothes or uniforms.
But ACP is about much more than school supplies. It can be hard to be a kid, but so much more so for homeless children living in unstable conditions. That’s where lunch buddies come in, providing a warm smile and ready ear. During the summer, My Place Summer Camp provides a six week opportunity for kids to maintain the critical structure in their lives that they get during the school year.
None of this, of course, happens without volunteers, who serve as tutors, lunch buddies, homework helpers and much more. Interested in getting involved? Check out some of the volunteer options below, or consider a coat drive or helping out with something from this organization’s Urgent Needs list. And of course, you can always visit SHARE Charlotte for more information.
Lunch buddy – Provide a mentoring friendship for the children. Each volunteer is assigned a student to be their “buddy.”
Tutor – Assist students with homework, help them prepare for tests or with their reading and/or math skills.
Classroom Assistant – Classroom Assistants help out in a classroom at least once a week for a period of two hours.
Coat Drive – Get your friends involved! Collect donations of new winter coats in sizes ranging from a children’s size 5 through adult —cardigans, puff jackets, sweatshirts – zip up or pull over and winter jackets.