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Angels In Our Midst

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Angels in our Midst (Rescuing Homeless School Children)

Updated: Monday, October 7 2013, 07:48 PM CDT
In partnership with the Children's Home Society, the Santa Rosa School District has assembled a tireless band of angels.
Their mission: to rescue children from homelessness.
This is their story.

Dr. Karen Barber, Santa Rosa School District;  "We had a young man who had a hearing impairment; he needed new hearing aids.  He hadn't been able to eat on the right side of his mouth for about five years."

These are real stories.

Joanne Raught, Children's Home Society;  "We have a lot of students whose parents may be incarcerated or may be dealing with addiction issues."

They are the homeless children in the Santa Rosa School District.

Carlisle Griffin, Jay High Assistant Principal;  "A young lady who, on her 18th birthday, mom really did pack up everything and say, you need to find someplace else to live."

Some on the streets with their families; others alone.

Shanna Schneider, Children's Home Society;  "He actually lived on his own in an abandoned home for quite a while."

The scope of the homeless problem is what these ladies focus on everyday.  Right now, they are working with more than 17 hundred homeless students. 155 of those students are "unaccompanied youth."

Dr. Karen Barber, Santa Rosa School District;  "Which means, they were without a parent or guardian.  Many of them sofa surfing; going from one friend's house, to another friend's house to another friend's house.  Sometimes sleeping in a car.  Sometimes sleeping in the woods."

The mission of this team is to find and give hope to these children out there all alone and to the families out on the streets.

Cindy Stewart, Formerly Homeless;  They could help the children adjust to a new school year since we were homeless and we were going to have to go to a different school.

And they find fellow angels who will open their homes to the children without parents and guardians.  They are people like Lamar Bradley who took in a homeless high school student who showed great promise for college but needed help to get there.

Lamar Bradley, Host Parent for Homeless Students;  "She came over one evening after work and helped us get through all the red tape of all the FASFA paperwork and made sure we put the right documentation down."

Dr. Karen Barber, Santa Rosa School District;  "We want to make sure kids that are in poverty and who are homeless, know that through education we can break that cycle.  And that we're going to help them move from high school graduation to college and career."

That means helping with college paperwork and the basic things.  They load their cars several times a day taking food, personal care items and clothes to wherever their children are staying for the moment.  The rewards are huge.  Here's a letter from the boy who was living in that abandoned house.

Shanna Schneider, Children's Home Society;  "I wanted to say thank you so much for all you've done to help me out.  I'm currently at PSC and will be transfering to UWF.  I'm getting a degree in psychology."

Another child who had no one to show up for his graduation; or so he thought.

Belen Parsley, Children's Home Society;  "I went to my student's high school graduation and it was real emotion because you were the only person who was there for the graduation.  And when they came out and they saw you there and they run to you and gave you the biggest hug.  It was just, you feel blessed."

And the boy who is hearing impaired and couldn't chew on one side.

Dr. Barber;  "He got new hearing aids, dental work."

Lamar;  "It's amazing what they do.  You're practically raising children that are not your own."

Cindy;  "If they had not been there for me and my family, I don't know what we would have done."

Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.

Angels in our Midst (Rescuing Homeless School Children)


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