SchoolHouse Connection Policy Fellows

The SchoolHouse Connection Policy Fellows program connects and mobilizes a network of affiliates, located across a variety of states, who learn how to advocate on the behalf of and educate policymakers on the issue of child, youth, and family homelessness, are responsive to calls to action around legislative advocacy at the federal and state levels, and train others to become advocates for the issue.

2023 Policy Fellows Advocacy Priorities:

  • Flexible Funding to Support Homeless Children and Youth
  • Removing Barriers to Higher Education for Homeless and Foster Youth
  • The Homeless Children and Youth Act

The Work of Our Fellows

The 2023-2024 cohort includes fellows from eight congressional districts in Alabama, California, Oregon, Michigan, Nebraska, Indiana, and Louisiana. The cohort consists of youth leaders and professionals who provide services that address youth homelessness, including public school homeless liaisons, and community advocates. 

The cohort is currently holding legislative visits with the office of their respective congressional representatives. Policy Fellows are using the visits to advocate for their member of Congress’ support, or co-sponsorship of the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA), H.R. 5221, advocating for higher education support and resources for youth as they transition out of high school and advocating for the highest level of flexible funding for the McKinney-Vento Act’s Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) program, which would help maintain services provided to youth experiencing homelessness once American Rescue Plan dollars and depleted.

Meet the Policy Fellows

Alabama

  • Denise Riemer, LICSW-PIP, Homeless & Foster Care Liaison/Mental Health Coordinator
  • Renata Hollins, McKinney-Vento Liaison
  • Courtney Riles, Community engagement Coordinator one roof

California

  • Donna Smith, County Office of Education Coordinator

Louisana

  • Tekoah Boatner, Executive Director, Youth Oasis
  • Robin Parker-Brooks, InspireNola District, McKinney-Vento Coordinator

 Indiana

  • Aseret Hesse, PhD Student

    Michigan

    • Dawn Jakubowski, State Policy Liaison Homeless Youth
    • Lisa Cruden, Vice President of Programs
    • Catherine (Katie) Kubesh, McKinney-Vento Regional Grant Coordinator & District Liaison
    • Holly Carpenter, Grant Coordinator

    Nebraska

    • Megan Reese, McKinney-Vento Liaison

    Oregon

    • Kirstin Doveri, McKinney-Vento Liaison
    • Woody Crobar, McKinney-Vento Liaison
    • Andrea Shaver, McKinney-Vento Liaison

    Hear From Former Fellows:

    “The SchoolHouse Connection policy fellowship has been instrumental as I delve into the world of policy advocacy for the first time on behalf of a specific group of people (youth experiencing homelessness; youth impacted by foster care). The tangible resources, well-informed guidance and readily accessible support have created a wonderful learning community to gain confidence and skills in order to push for positive change in the lives of youth my organization serves.” – Mobile B.

    “I am thrilled to be part of the SchoolHouse Connection policy fellows. My career has always included advocacy as an integral piece in helping others and making change. The work with homeless students, youth and families that I do in the communities I serve is increasing in numbers and importance. My advocacy for funding for educational supports, family housing, and basic needs to this growing issue is needed more than ever.” – Michelle A.

    “It has been very meaningful to learn how to advocate for policy that would have a direct impact on youth who have experienced homelessness like myself. This program has taught me many new skills and I am looking forward to learning how to effectively share these skills with my community in order to expand the impact of our advocacy.” – Cece E.

    “Being able to educate those with the ability to make changes for students in transition to address the challenges they face trying to obtain an education is so important. I’ve enjoyed being part of this process, stepping outside my comfort zone and meeting others with the same passion and goals.” – Michelle M.

    “I am thankful for the opportunity to be a voice for the young people who need to be heard! It has been a great learning experience working with Alleanne and Rodd. My hope is to continue advocating for homeless youth with the knowledge I have gained from this fellowship.” – Danica M.

    “My time as a fellow with SchoolHouse Connection has been an amazing learning experience. They have provided us with amazing opportunities for us to grow and connect with individuals that are like-minded and passionate about ending youth homelessness.” – Ajanae R.

    “My position as a district homeless liaison has become a passion for me. The number of students we have been able to impact in a positive and successful way has far outreached my early expectations. What an inspiration to have this opportunity to work with students who may not have had the chance to be successful academically and plan for their future. Serving these students is my honor!” – Sabra E.

    Archived SHC Policy Fellows Webinars

    These webinars are part of a series hosted by SchoolHouse Connection and its Policy Fellows for residents of targeted states who want to learn more about youth homelessness issues and convenient ways they can advocate for effective policy change, and get others in their community to do the same.

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Indiana
    Date Recorded: December 13, 2023

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Louisiana
    Date Recorded: December 8, 2023

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Alabama
    Date Recorded: December 6, 2023

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Oregon
    Date Recorded: November 30, 2023

    Watch the Recording

     

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Oklahoma
    Date Recorded: December 21, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Indiana
    Date Recorded: November 30, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Michigan
    Date Recorded: November 18, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in California
    Date Recorded: November 10, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in North Carolina
    Date Recorded: November 9, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Massachusetts
    Date Recorded: October 20, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Missouri
    Date Recorded: October 14, 2022

    Watch the Recording

    Advocating for Students Experiencing Homelessness in Connecticut
    Date Recorded: August 18, 2022

    Watch the Recording

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