Did you know? Every year, more than 2 million kids in the United States of America will face a period of homelessness. It’s during these times that they will experience minimum security or means of assuring a stable and comfortable future. For this reason and several more, the nonprofit organization Positive Tomorrows is breaking ground on a new school campus which has been designed for — and by — homeless kids.
GoodNewsNetwork reports that the groundbreaking campus will serve as a safe haven for approximately 200 underprivileged kids in Oklahoma City. When it is completed, the facility will host a fully stocked and furnished “living room” area for students and their families to hang out. In addition to being able to cook meals together, families will be able to dine in a space where they know they are welcome.
“Our families are in … survivor mode,” Amy Brewer, Director of Education at Positive Tomorrows, told Citylab. “Schooling is an afterthought at best. For many of our kids, if they were not at Positive Tomorrows, they would not be at school. Positive Tomorrows is able to provide a family with an array of support services that a traditional public school cannot.”
Before the building was designed, Positive Tomorrows worked with the students to discern what they wanted in the new facility. In an exercise titled “Dream Big,” the kids and teenagers were asked to submit drawings of what they wanted the new school to look like. Two common desires stood out: a place to spend quality time with other homeless students, and additional rooms to serve as their own personalized spaces.
The requests, though simple, indicate the kids’ need for community and consistency. As homeless families move from one shelter, couch, garage, or basement to the next, there is little of either. Brewer touched on this, saying: “Our kiddos have nothing that’s their own.”
Recently, Positive Tomorrows celebrated its 26th birthday. Since it was founded, the nonprofit has provided tens of thousands of free school meals, as well as dental and health checkups, to families in need. Furthermore, an independent study summarized on the organization’s website found that about half of the families who received assistance have shown improvements in housing, income, and employment.
“We feel a responsibility to serve more students,” said Susan Agel, Positive Tomorrows President and Principal. “We are thrilled to take this step forward today, and to move toward serving more of our community’s most vulnerable children.”
If you would like to support this project, consider donating to the Project Tomorrows website.
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IMAGE CREDIT: Positivetomorrows.org