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Starting a New School Year While Homeless

By Elizabeth Beam

September! Remember when that meant a fresh, new year at school? Maybe you remember shopping for a new book satchel, trapper keeper or backpack. How about sharpened pencils, packs of paper or notebooks and, just maybe, new school shoes or a new outfit? Of course there was always anxiety and uncertainty mixed with the excitement. After all, there was the unknown of a new teacher and a new mix of classmates.

Imagine if the beginning of a new school year meant catching a bus from a homeless shelter or even living in a car. For 3,989 school-age children in Wake County, that it reality. A new beginning, starting from behind. The number of homeless school-age children is 1,000 more than the population of Green Hope High, which is the largest in Wake County.

Let that settle in: students who are in the throes of growing up, navigating social pitfalls and struggling to keep up with their studies while living in unstable, perhaps dangerous situations that are beyond their control and beyond our experiences or understanding.

There is hope. Hope comes to families served by Family Promise of Wake County through the support of safe, comforting facilities staffed with caring and trained caseworkers and staff. This happens because of thousands of volunteers in 56 churches across Wake County. It happens because of people like you who, through your time and financial generosity, give these students a fighting chance. A chance to grow up to be the adults they deserve to be. Thanks for all you do. YOU are the difference in some student’s life.

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