Homelessness influences every aspect of a child’s life from the beginnings of infancy to young adults. The experience of homelessness can impact the physical, emotional, cognitive, social and behavioral development of a child. By the time they reach school age homelessness greatly impacts their academic life. They are often confronted with stressful and traumatic events that are difficult for them to understand and can lead to emotional stress. Hope House provides an intervention program and services that create a sense of stability, provides children with building resiliency and competency in a safe place for achieving success.
In hope of finding shelter and minimizing the effects of homeless to her children, Karen entered Hope House with her two sons. Kevin was eleven years old and had a younger brother. His parent’s divorced and lost the family home, which had taken its toll on the family. His mother was extremely stressed and intensely focused on employment. Kevin and his brother found they were confused and scared.
Kevin entered Hope House struggling academically. He was at risk of failing his current grade and failed a prior grade. His mother was frustrated and uncertain of what to do to help him. The Hope House Child Services Coordinator met with the family and a plan was put into place. Kevin began attending Bounce Back (Children’s Resiliency Group) to discuss his feelings. He attended on-site tutoring to address any academic weaknesses. His parent and teacher formed a partnership so that his academic progress could be monitored during the school year. Through Spotsylvania YMCA and Hope House’s partnership, Kevin was also able to attend basketball camp to help balance academics and recreation.
Kevin’s self-esteem rose in front of everyone’s eyes. His academics improved, but he still seemed to struggle in Math. An ex- Hope House resident, that understood the plight of divorced parents and homelessness, heard of the young child struggling and volunteered to help. The volunteer came daily and worked with Kevin in his studies. When Kevin received his first report card, after the individual tutoring, everyone cheered. He had all A’s and B’s including a B in Math. Kevin was able to relate to his tutor and see the ability to succeed because his tutor, who had undergone a similar set of experiences, had succeeded. At the end of the school year, Kevin brought the B in Math up to an A and was easily promoted to the sixth grade. He continues to enjoy basketball, his family is living in their own home once again and Kevin continues to do well in school.