From the sources listed below, I found two consistent themes. The first theme is that homelessness must be viewed as an educational issue. Just as public schools offer special education services to students who meet specific disability criteria, our district makes help available to students whose living situations meet specific criteria. These services all exist to help remove unfair educational obstacles.
The second theme is that everyone involved -- from our district's Homeless Liaison to its Homeless Action Committee, from our building social workers to our community partner agencies -- recognizes that students and families struggling with uncertain living situations deserve respect and sensitivity. Asking for help is hard, accepting help is hard; both steps require courage. All of these service efforts are based on the fundamental assumption that relationship building must come first.
- 11/16/15 Stephanie Stuart, Unit 4 News and Announcements, "Unit 4 Shines a Light on Needs during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week"
- 11/16/15 and 11/17/15 Anna Carrera, WCIA 3, "Helping families transition to more stable situations"
- 11/18/15 Angélica Sanchez, FOXIllinois 55/27, "Homeless Champaign mother: 'Don't judge; have compassion'"
- 11/20/15 Nicole Lafond, News-Gazette, "Mother in danger of homelessness: 'My son deserves more than this'"
As we enter Thanksgiving week, I know I am especially thankful for all the dedicated men and women in our community who are helpers. May we all be inspired to help others, however we are able.