There are currently 6,100 homeless students within the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system.
These children, even those living in emergency housing, start the school year without basic “back-to-school” supplies. Essential supplies are simple things — a backpack, the right uniform, calculators and notebooks. Yet these items will remain out of reach for Miami-Dade’s homeless children unless the community rallies to help.
The back to school initiative launched by Chapman Partnership, the private sector partner of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, makes it easy for the community to support and help ensure no child is left without school supplies on day one and throughout the year.
The initiatives invites Miami-Dade County residents to visit http://chapmanpartnership.org/backtoschool and make donations to fund the purchase and distribution of school supplies to homeless school-age children residing at Chapman Partnership. Chapman Partnership provides the children at the centers with new school uniforms, undergarments, sneakers and backpacks with school supplies throughout the school year.
“We are dedicated to providing our children with everything they need while they are in school to become successful,” said H. Daniel Vincent, president and CEO of Chapman Partnership.
Terrence, a former resident of Chapman Partnership, is a shining example of how important these supplies are for a student’s well-being and academic success.
In October, Terrence, 19, argued with his stepfather over a malfunctioning refrigerator and ended up homeless. He couch surfed with friends for a few weeks and dedicated himself to school.
“School was my home,” Terrencesaid . “While I knew I was faced with homelessness, school was the only thing that I looked forward to.”
He was determined to graduate.
It wasn’t long before Terrence found some relief with the help of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Project UP-START, a program that seeks to ensure a successful educational experience for homeless children and youth in South Florida, which placed him at Chapman Partnership.
Terrence became one of the 5,000 men, women and children that Chapman Partnership serves annually. Chapman Partnership provided him with housing, food, clothing, unwavering support, and, most importantly, all the school supplies he needed to succeed and graduate from high school.
“Terrence is an exceptional young man, who with the support from the community, has overcome homelessness. We knew he would have a bright future and we are proud to call Terrence an ambassador for the children in our Family Resource Centers,” Vincent stated.
Terrence graduated from Miami Jackson High School on June 8 with a 3.3 grade point average and moved out of Chapman Partnership and into the dorms at Florida International University, he received a full scholarship, including housing.
“Terrence has just taken two giant leaps forward — he graduated from high school and he has begun his college career in spite many obstacles. Now we must focus on other young students who have the opportunity to follow Terrence’s lead, pursuing an educational path to the future that they desire,” said Miami-Dade Schools superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho.
“The Chapman Partnership and Miami-Dade County Public Schools will continue to work together in order to nurture and support these youngsters to succeed in school and beyond, ” Crvalho addedl.
Terrence is a direct beneficiary of the back-to-school initiative and credits Chapman Partnership for helping him achieve his goals.
“Chapman Partnership taught me that there is help and that while each individual faces different challenges, you should accept and embrace the programs and services at the center,” Terrence said.
To support the back to school drive, visit http://chapmanpartnership.org/backtoschool.