WFISD and non-profit help homeless children

WFISD and non-profit help homeless children

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Wichita Falls ISD works with local shelters to help our children in need as the new school year approaches.

Yolanda Holmes, Faith Mission family case manager, said it begins with creating a sense of normalcy for the students. Holmes understands what the children in need go through because she was homeless as a child.

"It's hard when you're not really stable when you're going to different schools," Holmes said.

She said it was difficult for her to focus in the classroom when she did not know what was happening around her.

"I worried about home, what was going on, where we were going to stay if there was electricity on when we got home or any water," Holmes said. "Big worry."

Another struggle for her was to not have what most children have like clothes, food or school supplies.

That was why Debbie Gonzalez, Wichita Falls ISD Homeless liaison, said the district provides all those needs and more for its 400 homeless students which are paid for with a federal grant.

"The parents are more accepting to take their students there and to help them get additional services if they're available to them," Gonzalez said.

One of the services the district provides is counseling. Holmes said all the children she works with are looking for someone to trust.

"Sometimes they may not be able to say it in words but if they know somebody is there and they're not going to leave them or judge them or even judge their parents, they'll open up," Holmes said. "I believe if I had that I would've opened up."

Gonzalez said the district educates its employees to help them better understand the students in needs so they can help them in the classroom.

"If they're acting out, there may be something else going on," Holmes said. "I always say there maybe a route to that and really try to focus on that instead of saying 'oh, that child is this.'"

If the children move, the district busses them to their school of origin to their new living location.

"It's to keep that normalcy that they're used to. It's usually the one normal thing in their life that they have," Gonzalez said.

Faith Mission created a new series of stories of former and current homeless children to help people better understand the struggle the kids go through. They can be found on its website.

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