Our region was significantly impacted by the pandemic, especially for individuals in low income communities. As 80% of our students with emotional disabilities and autism live in poverty, the effects of the pandemic continue to negatively impact their health and disrupt their school attendance. During 2020, we observed an increase in financial, job, and housing insecurity among our families who struggle in the best of times. To support our students and families during this difficult time, we created the Emergency Fund to help support our families who experienced sudden life changes and re-engage our students back into their education. The Emergency Fund is available to assist with food insecurity, housing insecurity, job loss, medical expenses, digital equity, public transportation assistance, utilities, and clothing. The impact of the Emergency Fund is best showcased by the real students who have benefitted from it over the last two years:
One of our students and their family were suddenly displaced due to a mold infestation in their home. As the family figured out their next steps for housing, they were left without several basic needs such as food, clothing, and hygiene products. Our student’s guardian was also unable to be a reliable source of school transportation as they could not routinely afford gas for their car. Thanks to the Emergency Fund, we were able to take immediate action providing the family with the means to purchase clothes, clean school uniforms, food, hygiene products, and gas. Without the Emergency Fund, our student’s family would have been burdened by the expenses of their basic needs, preventing them from focusing exclusively, with the support of our staff, on securing new housing. The Emergency Fund served as a necessary bridge that filled in the gaps.
One of our high school grade students was left to live on his own. After communicating their living circumstances with our therapeutic staff, we discovered that our student required immediate basic needs assistance as there was no food, laundry detergent, or even soap in their home. Our staff were able to act quickly, providing the student with the means to afford groceries every two weeks, in tandem with connecting to local community food resources. The Emergency Fund also supplemented the wrap-around care that the student receives from The Foundation Schools like routine wellness check-ins from staff and transportation to and from school. Through this fund, we’re able to respond quickly to time-sensitive issues our students are experiencing, improving their health and wellbeing and ultimately strengthening their connection to their education.
You can continue to make a positive impact in the lives of our students and families in need at the Spring Virtual Auction from April 24th-28th starting at 12:00 PM. Stay tuned and make sure to follow us on social media for more information on the auction
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