As November is National Youth Homeless Awareness Month, officials in the San Elizario Independent School District (SEISD), are doing their part to help students in their area.
According to the Child Traumatic Stress Network, “As many as 2.5 million youth per year experience homelessness. Along with losing their home, community, friends, and routines as well as their sense of stability and safety, many homeless youths are also victims of trauma.”
SEISD officials say there are 83 students – approximately 3 % of students districtwide – that are identified as homeless.
On November 20, 2020, district social workers put together a drive-through to help families and students with backpacks filled with school supplies and personal hygiene products.
“The primary goal of the McKinney-Vento Program with the San Elizario District is to ensure that each student has the same access to free appropriate public education as any other student, and to remove barriers so students can receive the help they need,” Social worker Sylvia Graves shared.
Each backpack includes several school supplies such as folders, dividers, pens, pencils, erasers two packs of notebook paper, a pocket dictionary and thesaurus, sharpeners, highlighters, glue, colored markers, colored pencils, scissors, two spiral notebooks, a journal, and at least one binder and books.
The personal care product bags also include toiletries such as shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, lotion, soap, a comb and brush, and a toothbrush and toothpaste.
As a result of the pandemic, hand sanitizer was included in the bags.
Social worker Teresita Parra said, “Each child needs their supplies. There are so many uncertainties about the future. Because of the pandemic, we have many parents who have lost a job or income so right now, it is important to get these supplies to students.”