Homeless kids – A priority all year long

kids and board 121914

There’s nothing more special than experiencing the holidays through the eyes of a child. Without a doubt, Coalition kids will know that Santa hasn’t forgotten about them during their stay at here, thanks to the support of such a giving community.

You’ll be heartened to know that Santa doesn’t stop by here just once a year. At the Coalition, we help our children the whole year through, with gifts that don’t come tied in a bow but will last a lifetime.

Homeless families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. On any given night, the Coalition helps 70 families with more than 150 children. When families first arrive here, they are provided with food and shelter. Emotionally and developmentally, however, children need more than a place to lay their heads and full bellies to be able to thrive.

It can be a time of uncertainty for children who stay at the Coalition. Many of them do not understand why they cannot live in their own home or sleep in their own bed. For some children, the instability of their situation can affect their emotional well-being.

At the Coalition, we work with our children to establish a strong foundation, one that enables them to be successful later in life. Our nurturing daycare staff addresses critical issues, such as self-esteem and social skills. Educational and developmental delays are addressed in a structured learning environment, where play is encouraged.

Our Early Child Development Center emphasizes school readiness, and parents are reminded of the crucial role they play in their child’s development. In just two short months, our 3-year-olds are able reach milestones such as speaking multiple sentences, comprehending stories, and repeating numbers and letters in sequence. In that same time span, our 4-year-olds, the VPK children, learn to write their name, identify upper and lower case letters, and combine letters to make words.

Here at the Coalition, youngsters can participate in a number of activities that are not only fun, but play a crucial role in their development. Our on-site Boys & Girls Club is the first club located on the campus of a homeless shelter. In addition, every Saturday, volunteers arrange flag football games for kids. Coalition kids also express themselves through art, guided by local artists, through our Art by Coalition Children (ABCs) Program. Throughout the year, there are field trips, as well as events on-site, to help kids remember that they are special, valued, and unique.

Parents are given every opportunity help foster an environment of stability and normalcy. At our Back-to-School shopping event, moms and dads “shop” for new clothes and school items. During this time of year, they’ll be shopping for presents, generously provided by donors. Parents will be able to see their kids’ faces light up when they realize Santa had their names on the Nice list.

With all that we offer our children, thanks to our wonderful community, the ultimate goal is the same: to help mold youngsters into confident, successful individuals. When they leave here, we hope that they’ll take VPK teacher Ms. Betty’s student creed to heart: “I am unique. I am a winner. I am somebody.”