The Region 17 Homeless Ed Buzz

December 2020

A Note...

I hope that each of you had a blessed Thanksgiving holiday. I can't believe that Christmas break is right around the corner! Time has certainly flown! I wanted to focus this month's newsletter on ways to support our homeless youth during the holidays. I would love to hear from you on ways you support your students when school is not in session so I can share with others. I have also had several questions and requests from new district liaisons, so I have put a Zoom training on the books that will cover the basics. See registration information below. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I hope you enjoy your much needed holiday break and use it as a time to renew and refresh as we bring in the new year. Thank you for all you do for our students in Region 17!


Best wishes,

Angie

Serving Homeless Youth for New District Liaisons

Thursday, Dec. 10th, 3-5pm

This is an online event.

Are you a new Homeless Liaison in your school district? Has it been a while and you need a refresher on the requirements for districts when serving homeless youth? Join us for a virtual training on Zoom where we will discuss the key components of the McKinney-Vento law. We will review the roles and responsibilities of district Homeless Liaisons and how they support students experiencing homelessness. We will also address homeless youth identification, enrollment and access. The link to join the Zoom meeting will be sent prior to the training.


Click here to register: Session 782704

Supporting Homeless Youth During the Holidays

No Place Like School for the Holidays

The holidays are especially difficult for homeless students. They often do not share the same experiences as their classmates, such as decorating the Christmas tree, receiving presents, or having a family celebration dinner. Even more, homeless students miss the stability, food, and basic needs they receive when the school building is closed.


How Can Schools Help?


  • Know Your Homeless Students' Needs. Before the break, reach out to your homeless students and/or their families. Find out their current situation. Where will they be staying during the holidays? Will students have access to adequate meals each day during the break? Do they have coats, shoes, blankets? Do they need assistance with paying utilities? Do they need assistance with providing gifts? Find out as much as you can and make a list for each student. Find out what support is most urgently needed.
  • Reach out to your community. There are many people and organizations that are willing and able to help. Find local non-profits that provide free toys and gifts for children, assistance with food for the holidays, and additional financial assistance with heating and utility bills, such as the Salvation Army or local churches and other volunteer organizations.
  • Organize a donation drive. Angel Tree programs are popular ways to help your homeless students. Create tags with gift requests from your students and decorate a tree with the tags. Then recruit people to adopt an angel and purchase gifts for them. You can also organize a coat drive where people can donate new or gently used coats for those in need. You can also organize a canned food drive or holiday meal.
  • Provide students/families with a list of resources. Before school is out for the break, provide your students and their families with a list of resources they can use during the holidays. The list should include names, phone numbers, and addresses for organizations that can provide assistance as well as medical facilities they can go to if needed and public transportation in your area.
  • Communicate with your students/families during the break. Be sure to check in with your students at some point during the break. Find out how they are getting along and wish them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Make sure they know when school will be back in session. Be that person that is their point of contact if they need help or have questions.



Divide and Conquer

Do not try to do it all on your own! Contact school clubs that may be willing to help, such as the Student Council or other school service organizations. You would also be surprised at how many staff members are willing to help where there is a need. But, always remember to keep student information confidential and do not provide lists to others with student names, addresses, etc.


Resources in the South Plains




Send me an email awatson@esc17.net.

I want to know they ways that you and your district are helping your homeless youth during the holidays. I will compile a list to send out to our network so we can share and help each other with ideas and strategies. Thank you!