June 2, 2021
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
The Lord’s Place Public Relations Counsel
Formerly homeless students stay in school and dream big as they graduate high school
The Lord’s Place Youth Services help students defy obstacles created by the pandemic
A recent study by Bellwether Education Partners warned that three million children in the United States may have missed all formal education, remote or in-person, for a year. This is roughly equal to the entire school-aged population in the state of Florida. The National Education Association reported that a survey by SchoolHouse Connection and Poverty Solutions indicates roughly 423,000 homeless students have slipped through the cracks and are not receiving the support and services they need. The Lord’s Place Family Campus Youth Services Department is assisting marginalized teens in Palm Beach County defy the odds of being part of these statistics.
Fred Weitz, youth education coordinator, and Emily Sardinha, youth education advocate, are always busy planning for The Lord’s Place youth based on their social, academic, and emotional needs. They cater to the needs of the ” whole child.” The results of their planning helps the youth who have experienced homelessness and suffered the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic build dreams beyond their imagination for the future. This encompasses career planning as well as college planning for the teens. They believe in dreaming big and instilling that mentality in their youth. They say that “if you can see it in your mind, you can achieve it.”
The Lord’s Place Family Campus Youth Services Department had four successful high school graduates in 2020 who all went on to higher education with those dreams in mind. This year in 2021, the Youth Services Department will have three more high school graduates who will successfully matriculate.
The Lord’s Place Youth Services team knows that the youths’ present situation does not define their future story.
“Many of our teens who have been homeless, unfortunately only see what is right in front of them and are in survival mode. One of the roles of the youth services team is to remove all obstacles. We tell our teens to try and put aside their current situation and dream about what they want their life to look like in five years from now if there was nothing holding them back,” stated Weitz.
Matthew, a senior at Inlet Grove High School, is a resident at The Lord’s Place Family Campus who participated in its youth services programs and hasn’t let his past hold him back. Matthew does virtual school. He finishes classes this Thursday, June 4 and graduates Thursday, June 17. Matthew will attend Palm Beach State College for Marine Service Technology.
“It feels great to graduate high school. I am the first of my family,” stated Matthew.
When asked about his future, Matthew answered, “My big dream is to help other kids in need and open my own shop. Ten years from now, I see myself in a big house with my family, my mom, and niece and nephew. I also see myself with a good job and driving a sports car.”
About The Lord’s Place Family Campus & Youth Services:
The Lord’s Place Housing Programs provide shelter for homeless men, women and children and help residents identify the issues that led to their homelessness. The Lord’s Place gives their residents the tools they need to stabilize their lives, while providing safe homes so they can thrive. The Family Campus provides housing for 37 families and on average has 60-80 children living on the campus.
The Campus improves each family’s ability to thrive by helping them develop skills and resources to achieve and sustain independence. The Campus also includes an innovative Youth Services program for the many children who call the campus home. The program is designed to ensure that each child has the same access to opportunities that promote learning and growth as other children. These include after school activities, tutoring, field trips, educational outings, youth council participation, and exploring various interests and hobbies such as sports, art and music.
About The Lord’s Place
For more than 40 years, The Lord’s Place has been working to break the cycle of homelessness for men, women, and children in Palm Beach County, FL, through innovative, compassionate and effective services. It provides supportive and graduate housing at ten locations; operates social enterprises including three Joshua Thrift Stores, Joshua Catering, and Joshua Treasures; provides job training and placement services, clinical and care coordination, and community engagement services; and has a highly-successful reentry program helping men and women transitioning from incarceration. For more information visit thelordsplace.org or call 561-494-0125.