In an effort to help homeless children in the Greater Milford area, Circle of Light, Inc. and the Milford School District have continued a partnership to promote awareness and support for local homeless children. Defined as a child that does not have a permanent address, the Milford School District identified on average 126 children per year over the last four years that are living in a transitional stage of residency.
Through private donations from the community, local churches, businesses and monies from grants, Circle of Light, Inc. is again making a total donation of 100 sleeping bags from WalMart, for children in need during the upcoming school year.
“One of the misconceptions about homeless children is that they are unsheltered,” commented Reverend Kevin Bowers, Assistant Program Coordinator for Circle of Light, Inc. “They are usually sheltered but in a transitional stage of residency. The value of the sleeping bags is that most of these kids will be able to take them along with them as they travel to multiple locations throughout the school year.”
Individuals at Circle of Light, Inc. and the Milford School District that work with homeless children agree that adding even just one item that is always present in the child’s life can help them deal with the difficulties associated with homelessness. Circle of Light, Inc. is dedicated to helping the homeless women and children in the Milford area and is the intermediary for area non-profits such as People’s Place. They help collect mattresses and household items for the transitional housing that People’s Place offers local women that have experienced abuse.
Over the last four years, the Milford School District has become very involved with helping area students that are considered homeless. In each school, teachers, counselors and administrative staff receive training in how to recognize homeless children and how to assist them. With a nationwide increase in home foreclosures and a decrease in the number of available jobs around the nation, officials at the Milford School District expect the number of children identified as homeless to increase over the next school year.
“There is a lot of poverty around the area and homeless, you do not see them on the streets so most people do not think there is a problem,” commented Craig Warrington, Director of Milford School District Mentoring Programs. “When people are in hotels and other houses with many people, the sleeping bag gives them a constant and their own space.”
The Milford School District believes that this state of consistency is very important in a child’s life, whether it is a simple sleeping bag or keeping children in their classrooms even when they move outside the district lines. According to Warrington, children that are considered homeless are bused to the Milford school they attend regardless of where they move.
“We want to make sure that families keep kids in the same district to not interrupt their education,” stated Warrington. Four years into the program, Warrington is grateful for the community’s partnership in the effort to promote awareness and support for local homeless children. Although the support has been encouraging, he still states that up to 140 local children could be living in a shelter, motel or with a relative or friend when school begins in August.
Circle of Light, Inc. and the Milford School District are asking for the public’s helps in assisting these homeless children by providing items such as toiletries and clothing. Local organizations, businesses, church groups and private citizens can get involved by contacting Circle of Light Inc. representative Deacon Dorothy Vuono at 302-465-5901 or Milford School District Representative Craig Warrington at 302-424-6470 or 302-384-4669.