As we head back into the school year, uncertain about how the ongoing pandemic will affect our MPS-contracted middle school as well as all of the young people we serve, we recognize how important it is to be as attentive, caring and safety-minded as possible. This is especially true when serving our youth facing homelessness.
Because our organization as a whole focuses on housing instability, our educators are uniquely equipped to recognize and connect youth experiencing homelessness to additional resources. We know that for other schools, federal funding and staff education can make all the difference in identifying and helping homeless and runaway youth.
This series by Schoolhouse Connection offers different perspectives within the education system on why everyone, including educators and policy-makers, needs to understand the gravity of student homelessness. Simply recognizing and wanting to help young students can drastically change their futures. As young expert, Jahnee, put it, “It started with them paying attention and noticing that something was wrong, then they had to be willing to ask questions, and lastly they provided support.”
Jahnee’s story exemplifies that a supportive environment can deeply impact a young person and the people they care for. Jahnee was not only able to break her own cycle of trauma, but now dedicates her time to helping younger generations do the same. We see this ripple effect at Pathfinders as well, where youth who transition from crisis-management into ambitious, self-selected futures often choose to serve their peers.
We send our most sincere gratitude to all the educators and mentors who help spark this generational domino effect. You are influencing more change than you know.