Living in Survival Mode
I work with a family of four children (all elementary age) who were chronically homeless. They have been to five schools in the last year. They each had one outfit, all shoes had holes in the bottom with toes poking out. They were dirty and disheveled because they didn’t have access to consistent hygiene supplies, and they were hungry almost all the time. All the children had experienced trauma because of things they have witnessed and experienced in homeless shelters.
The family moved into our school boundaries after being placed in one of our rapid rehousing complexes. They all required significant mental health intervention to even function throughout the day in school. They were in constant survival mode because their basic needs were not being properly met due to poverty and homelessness. It was so hard for them to ever feel successful (or even safe) in school.
The Granite Education Foundation was able to provide clothing, shoes, hygiene kits, and school supplies for each child. These are children that have never previously had any possessions to call their own in any context. This gave them that opportunity. They had clothes, shoes, backpacks and supplies that they didn’t have to share and that were new. Alleviating even a few pieces of their stress caused a dramatic shift in mood and behavior at school.
As a school and as a district, we have such an amazing opportunity to create an environment where students feel loved, safe and taken care of. It really does begin with helping to meet those basic needs.
— Written by a social worker in Granite School District