Project Rise Continues Strong Support

The Impact of Homelessness on Students
Posted on 02/10/2022
Person(from Kristen Anzuini,

Around 10% of Akron Public Schools students experience homelessness each year, said Shannah Cariño, the homeless liaison for the district. One program aims to help keep those children on track.

"Those students are in shelters. Sometimes they are in hotels. They are often doubled up with other family or friends,” Cariño explained.

She said living without permanent, long-term housing can have a profound effect on a child.

“When our kids aren’t in school, then they aren’t getting the benefits of education," she said. "That can show up in all different areas, it can show up in grades, test scores (and) in behavior.”

That is where the district's Project Rise program comes in to help.

Project Rise is a program that helps students experiencing homelessness in Akron stay in school.

"It does feel good to know that when we have families struggling with barriers, that we can take (the barriers) away," she said. "Sometimes, it’s super easy for us to take away. Sometimes, they are difficult barriers,”

They try to provide everything they can for the students experiencing homelessness from everyday essentials like hygiene supplies, laundry detergent and clothes to transportation to actually get to school.

"We provide Metro passes," she said. "I’m oftentimes here on Google maps trying to figure out the best way to help them get to school."

Like most the rest of the world, their mission of helping students has been impacted by the pandemic.

“I really do think the shortage of drivers and available personnel who provide transportation is affecting our homeless population disproportionately,” she said.

With students out of school more often due to online learning, it is harder to identify the families in need.

“One of the things we worry about right now is that there are more students experiencing homelessness than we know about," she said.

So right now, Project Rise is working to make sure Akron Public School families are aware of this program.

"Hey, we are here, we are here to support you," she said. "You don’t have to attend online school, we can help you get to school."

For more information on Project Rise, click here. They're looking for monetary donations, school supplies, hygiene products, socks, shoes, underwear and gift cards for gasoline and food. You can also donate your time. Project Rise is looking for teachers and tutors in particular.
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