At SchoolHouse Connection, we believe that young people are the experts on their experiences, needs and strengths. We are proud to provide this space for their perspectives.
On Wednesday, May 11, SchoolHouse Connection, John Burton Advocates for Youth, and the Youth Law Center, organized a Congressional briefing in collaboration with the Offices of Representative Danny Davis and Senator Bob Casey. Senator Patty Murray was an honorary co-host. Young people with lived experience in the foster care system and with homelessness explained four higher education bills that would have a significant and positive impact on the lives and futures of young people. These young leaders also discussed the need for reform of the Chafee Education and Training Voucher Program and in the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement for federal financial aid.
Name: Aseret Hesse State: IndianaUniversity: Indiana UniversityMajor: Psychology, minoring in criminal justice and sociology Graduation Date: May 7, 2022It was incredibly empowering to receive the SchoolHouse Connection scholarship and to meet the staff and my fellow...
“When I received the SchoolHouse Connection scholarship, I was living in a shelter and wondering where life would take me after graduation. I knew I wanted to go to college, but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to afford it. I had just recently met with the shelter manager about my release date because I would soon turn 18 and not be eligible to stay. My future was up in the air…”
“Ultimately, I advocate to recognize youth whose stories go untold. I advocate to highlight the fact that all homeless and foster youth are capable of reaching their goals and overcoming the immovable obstacles. I advocate in hopes that future generations of disadvantaged communities have even more opportunities than I did.”
It is our pleasure to announce SchoolHouse Connection’s 2022 scholar class: Narcizo, OR, Melody, GA, Daniela, TX, Jessica, MO, Juan, CA, Maya, HI, Alan, NC, Briley, GA, Lilly, MO, Conrad, LA, Dariel, FL.
This story originally appeared on the Miami Herald. Roxana Rodriguez-Monzon is a student at Florida International University studying public policy and service, a legislative aid with SchoolHouse Connection and a student temporary employee with non-profit Miami Homes for All.
SHC is working with Florida’s Children First, Florida Youth SHINE, and many other young people, educators, and advocates on two bills to help unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness get driver licenses and car insurance, persist in postsecondary education, and access medical care. Read SHC Scholar Rebecca’s testimony about how educators helped her, and how bills before the state legislature could make a difference for other youth experiencing homelessness in Florida.
It is our pleasure to announce SchoolHouse Connection’s 2021 scholar class: Storm, AL Precious, CA Chandler, WA Jordan, AK Jahnee, FL Hannah, OR Eric, TX Lexi, OR Cire', OH Samantha, FL At SchoolHouse Connection, one of our guiding principles is that young people are...
The American Rescue Plan: Building the Bridge to Education and Beyond for Students Experiencing Homelessness
“I can remember being a young teen, living with my mother and six siblings and being locked out of the house until the early hours of the morning on multiple occasions. Abuse was prevalent in my home and trying to navigate school with honors and AP Courses throughout this experience was next to impossible. Eventually, the abuse became so bad that I had no choice but to flee.”
We recognize SchoolHouse Connection scholars who are breaking the cycle of homelessness by earning their high school and college degrees. We are inspired by their resilience and determination in navigating their final semesters, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. We could not be more proud of them, and of all our SchoolHouse Connection scholars. We are honored to support them to and through college, and into the workforce, and we thank them for allowing us to share their words.
“Wherever I stayed and whoever I stayed with, regardless of their intent, if they learned about my sexuality, it still put me in the vulnerable position of unstable and inconsistent housing; and when I was already vulnerable, I felt like I needed to obscure that side of me as a means of exercising control in my life over what little I had authority: the story that I presented to others.” In this powerful blog, SHC Young Leader Brandon Plowman discusses the complexity of homelessness among LGBTQ youth.
By SchoolHouse Connection’s Scholar Jahnee S.. “I was 8 years old when I first experienced homelessness. Homelessness then became a struggle that my family and I couldn’t escape. I experienced standing in the snow, hoping my family and I had a place to sleep on a church floor; how packed and unsanitary emergency shelters are, as I got lice within two days of staying there; how “The Florida Project” brought me flashbacks to the many months my family lived in motels, and how I viewed peers with “the basic necessities” with such envy.”
“I am the second youngest of 7 children and growing up, my siblings and I relied heavily on each other to navigate the challenges we faced. Though we ended up being split apart at a young age, we managed to survive, and to this day I would not be who I am if it wasn’t for them. This is my story.” By Danny, SchoolHouse Connection Scholar
“You could tell early on in my childhood that my mother had never truly wanted to be anything other than young and carefree, while many parenting responsibilities fell onto me with full accountability. This meant that, while some kids got cared for by loving parents, I was raised early on to be self-reliant, and when the time came, I was taught to be a caretaker for my sister too.” By Aseret, SchoolHouse Connection Scholar
On July 14, 2020, we connected virtually with five youth: four SchoolHouse Connection Young Leaders and a Youth Advisor for National Network for Youth. We listened as they reflected on their childhood experiences of homelessness and shared their experiences and challenges navigating college and homelessness in the wake of COVID-19. Here is the summary of the briefing.
On April 30th, SchoolHouse Connection hosted a webinar featuring three young leaders from our Youth Leadership and Scholarship Program who are navigating higher education during the coronavirus pandemic. During the webinar, the students shared their experiences, challenges, and advice for other students, higher education professionals, and service providers. This blog post has been repurposed from the webinar.
We recognize the end of the 2020 school year by celebrating some of our exceptional high school and college graduates.
It is our pleasure to announce SchoolHouse Connection’s 2020 scholar class: Diego, ID Cecelia, CA Samantha, MO Kayla, NC Caitlin, TX Ashley, AZ Lanie, MO Hayden, KY Carlos, OK Phoenix, MT At SchoolHouse Connection, one of our guiding principles is that young people...
Destiny explains, “Having had to silently deal with so many mental health issues and watching others struggle in their own ways, I have developed a passion to want to help those struggling to find inner peace.” Here, Destiny explains how education has been a powerful force in her life–and how she’s compelled to help other students experiencing homelessness be their own best advocates.
“As a child, I felt powerless. I was frustrated and terrified at my family’s circumstances. When my eighth grade English teacher became aware of my home situation, she pulled me aside one day and asked to talk after class. The conversation we had that afternoon...
We celebrate the end of the school year by recognizing some exceptional high school and college graduates. These SchoolHouse Connection scholars are breaking the cycle of homelessness by earning their high school and college degrees. We celebrate their...
SchoolHouse Connection welcomed eleven new scholars from across the nation into the SchoolHouse family during a trip to Orlando, FL, April 4-6. The scholars were recognized during the School Social Work Association of America conference, presented a concurrent session to offer their insights, and enjoyed a fun-filled day at Disney World.
By Ed Vere. Ed graduated with Highest Honors from a Blue Ribbon High School District in Illinois. He is a third-year Urban Studies student at Wheaton College. “This past June, my SchoolHouse Connection peers and I came from all over the U.S. to Washington, D.C. to speak truth — our truths — to power and to each other… Our time together was a revival of some sort … of resiliency, of being nurtured, and of past pain and trauma.”
By Destiny Dickerson, an SHC scholar who is majoring in Psychology at San Diego State University. “I did not sleep in a tent, or on a park bench, but I was still homeless. There are many students and people who are living just like me and deserve to be validated in their homeless status. We have already lost so much. We deserve to be recognized.”
By Megan “Mutt” Martin. Megan, age 20, graduated from the Anchorage School District, AK. She is majoring in Nursing at The University of Alaska, Anchorage. “I realized that I was an advocate. I wasn’t just a youth spinning a sob story to get someone’s attention. I was a young adult talking about the realities that homeless youth face. I faced these realities in my childhood, and I know that many others still face them, and will continue to face them in childhoods yet to come.”
We are celebrating the end of the school year by recognizing some exceptional college graduates. These SchoolHouse Connection young leaders are breaking the cycle of homelessness by earning their college degrees. We celebrate their accomplishments, and we are honored to share their reflections with you.
Amy Bradley, Director of Youth Leadership and Scholarships at SchoolHouse Connection, facilitated a panel at the National Title I Conference, hosted by the National Title I Association in Philadelphia, PA. The session was titled, “Voices of Youth: Education, Homelessness, Hope”, and consisted of four young leaders (Liam, Gladys, Bernadette, and Sasha). Check out the video of the session!
SchoolHouse Connection’s Leadership and Scholarship Program welcomed ten new scholars from across the nation into the SchoolHouse family during a trip to Austin, TX, March 4-7.
By Susan Piazza, Assistant Director, Title I and School Support Team, WI Department of Public Instruction. “I recently had the honor of introducing a session at the National Title I Conference, hosted by the National Title I Association in Philadelphia, PA. The session was titled, ‘Voices of Youth: Education, Homelessness, Hope.’ As I sat there listening, I was once again reminded of the truth behind the impact that school, district, and state level systems can have on the future of a child or youth experiencing homelessness.”
By Jessie McCormick. Jessie works at Sasha Bruce Youthwork and is passionate about making resources such as education and health care available to homeless youth and young adults.
“I want to stress the importance of the Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act (HEASHFY). I, myself was an unaccompanied homeless youth throughout high school and college and I know first-hand how homelessness can affect access to higher education. I have created a list of reasons why HEASHFY is important to me and why it will be instrumental in the lives of students experiencing homelessness.”
By Jordyn Roark, BSW candidate, University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “You walk into an office and are asked for your name and address. You reply that you don’t have an address. The secretary looks confused and says, ‘You must have an address. Where do you sleep?’ You cringe and restate that you do not have an address. The secretary fumbles through some papers, lets out a strained breath, and finally looks up to state: ‘We need an address in order to move forward.’”
By Dakota Chronis, Student, North Seattle Community College. Early in life I struggled significantly with schooling because there were many basic needs that I never had met. I lived in unsafe environments due to financial instability. The constant threat of being harmed or becoming sick was scary because I didn’t have access to medical care. My untreated chronic health issues prevented me from focusing on schooling.
“The issue of homelessness is often an invisible burden outshined by images of tattered clothes and messages written on cardboard. The true face of homelessness is so much broader than that. We will truly elicit change when we are able to help our community and those in power see those faces.” We present a very special guest perspective. Two SHC Young Leaders – student and peer mentor – share their thoughts and feelings about speaking truth to power in Washington, DC.
For years before I lost my housing, I was trapped with a parent in a home that was unsafe and unsuitable for living. I spent three years parenting my own child as a minor, aware that if I were to reach out for housing supports or express fear for my safety, I could be forcibly separated from my daughter and we could both end up worse off.
By Lizzy Shoben, AA, Social Welfare, Central College of Florida. I didn’t know what to expect the first time I stepped foot in a college financial aid office, I assumed it would be the easiest part of college. Ha, joke was on me. Who knew I would be bawling in front of a stranger, telling them about one of my most humiliating and heartbreaking experiences of my life?
By Irene Sauceda, BSW, MSW Candidate, Texas State University. I walked into the counselor’s office, a place I sought out to check the status of my GPA, but this time I was called in. Curiosity raving in my heart, I walked to the back office of the counselor for the senior class. “What could a senior counselor want with me if I’m only a junior?,” I asked myself.