Some good news for homeless students in the LAUSD! Approx. 25,000 items were donated by Comerica Bank customers and employees.
This article was taken from the website of Southern California Public Radio: http://www.scpr.org/news/2010/09/29/lausd-homeless/?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4cd392ce5a7e33c9,0
LAUSD homeless students receive donations to stay in school
Sept. 29, 2010 | Adolfo Guzman-Lopez | KPCC
There are more than 13,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District classified as “homeless.” Their families have lost nearly everything. Today a bank gave a donation to a district program that works to help those students continue their education.
L.A. Unified’s program is tasked with helping homeless students stay in school. It includes case worker visits to families in Skid Row hotels and outreach to parents to let them know that clothing and bus vouchers and free school supplies are available. Tammy Wood does this outreach at 400 district campuses.
“So many cases touch our hearts. I think the ones that touch us the most are when these little kids come to the office because they’ve either just moved here from out of state or they’ve actually lived in the area but maybe doubled up or tripled up, sometimes in families homes.
“They’ll come into the office and we’re going to give them a backpack with school supplies and the little kid is so excited they start crying, ‘Mommy, this is my backpack.’” Wood said.
She and school district officials were in a Comerica Bank branch in L.A.’s Koreatown to accept donations to help students. The roughly 25,000 items include new backpacks, pencils, pens and soap; all given by bank customers and employees.
Comerica Bank Executive Vice President Betty Rengifo Uribe immigrated to the U.S. from Colombia when she was twelve years old. She says she can relate to the plight of L.A. Unified’s homeless students.
“When we came here it was my mother, just my mother, three brothers and I and we had very little money. So we went to the churches and the church would give us the school supplies and the food and so forth,” she said.
The donations will soften the hardships of poverty, says L.A. Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines, though it’s not enough to meet the need.
“But it is symbolic and it never lets us forget that we have to care about others regardless of how bad the times are,” Cortines said.
The school district employs about ten people in its Homeless Education Program to reach homeless students from San Pedro to the San Fernando Valley. Officials say they’re seeing more formerly middle class families using the services.