invisible homeless kids

Hard to imagine that in this country way over 3 MILLION kids are without homes. H-O-M-E-L-E-S-S Kids. I don't get it. Are we willing to discard these kids? Not me. So this blog will relentlessly focus on this issue, hoping to light a spark to fuel a compassion epidemic. Chime in, argue, but do something....

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A Mother's Joy

When all is said and done with my life, which I hope isn't anytime too soon, one of my proudest accomplishments will be my work with homeless students' educational rights. Why? Julianna said it best...

When Julianna was reaching the point of leaving her abusive marriage, her oldest 2 kids made her promise 2 things: not to go back to him and not to make them change schools. Julianna, in her understandably stressed condition, was pretty sure she'd not go back to her husband but even though she worked in a school she had no knowledge about the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education law.

The law, significantly improved back in 2001 and awaiting further refinements as Congress shuffles their priorities, provides that kids can stay in their "school of origin," a.k.a. where they were attending before becoming homeless, or go to the nearest school where they are now staying. Other details are relevant, but for Julianna's story, that is the key--the kids could stay in their schools.

This weekend I spent time with her and her kids. When we had time to talk, she, unprovoked by me, went into a rhapsody about her kids being able to enjoy stability in at least one aspect of their lives as they stayed in their schools while their living arrangement went from pillar to post.

I just sat there, listening to this unsolicited praise of the essence of this issue which I've spent--along with others--a huge amount of time and energy. My thoughts were simply, IT WAS WORTH IT!

Hearing and seeing Julianna's profound desire to turn her experiences into something valuable for her and others inspires me beyond words.

Seems to me we need to better tap this incredible resource. She's ready, willing and able to communicate with her members of Congress on the importance of protecting homeless children's rights. She's not alone--in her struggles or in her dreams for a better life for our nation's kids and families. My dream is to grow HEAR US into a strong instrument for courageous people like Julianna to share her experiences.

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