By Ginger Harms Charity Coordinator, El Dorado County
Each year, the Child Support Directors Association (CSDA) raises funds to help support a non-profit charity selected by the incoming CSDA president. Historically, these fundraising activities have raised more than $25,000 annually for the selected charity. Don Semon, Director of El Dorado County Child Support Services, has decided to focus fundraising efforts for 2018 on homeless children.
As is probably the case with most of you, staff in El Dorado County was unaware of the homeless student population in our community. We had never heard of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, part of which is designed to ensure that children identified as homeless receive access to all school programs and services for which they are eligible. These services include academic support, school nutrition, and transportation to the school where they were enrolled when permanently housed. In California, more than 300,000 homeless students are identified each year and these numbers continue to climb. In rural El Dorado County alone, nearly 1,000 enrolled students have been identified by McKinney-Vento as homeless.
On a regular basis, homeless children and youth report that school is a home for them—a place where they see the same faces, sit in the same seat, and can put their hearts and minds into pursuits that help ease their daily troubles. In school, these children gain the skills and support needed to overcome poverty and homelessness as adults.
In partnership with the El Dorado Community Foundation, El Dorado Child Support Services has created a Homeless Children Matter Fund to support homeless students in our community.
Donations from the fundraising efforts, which conclude at the annual conference in May 2018, will help ensure homeless children in our county receive much-needed academic services and supplies, greater stability in their lives, and the hope for a better tomorrow. Please help us to make a difference.
For more information or to arrange a donation, please contact Ginger Harms at 530-642-7238 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch for future articles on the Homeless Children Matter Charity
November 2017—More information/data on McKinney Vento
January 2018—Case studies/complexities of the issue
March 2018—How LCSAs can help