The Partnership for the Homeless

Education rights for all?

Dear Friend of the Partnership,

First day of school. We all remember the angst. Social hierarchies. Dreaded teachers. Team selections. Auditions. Tests, tests and more tests.

But did you ever really have to worry about whether or not you actually could go to school… or have access to the programs that would help you most… or how you were going to deal with the two hour commute – each way.

These are the mundane yet monumental problems that we deal with every day at The Partnership for the Homeless. And the amazing thing is, if you glimpsed half the people who come to us every day, it wouldn’t even occur to you that they live in shelters. Bright-eyed, eager faces. Articulate and ambitious youngsters.

The parents who come to us with the challenges facing them in navigating the public school system often present the very same problems that you may see your school’s principal about. Yes, we see our share of families who have children with learning disabilities or behavioral problems or health issues that require special attention from their school’s administration. But we also have gifted kids in our ranks.

Homelessness knows no intellectual bias. And children, are the victims of it.

So won’t you help us help them, the future geniuses in our midst, to have the same opportunities as everybody else to reach their full potential?

I know, because you have been such a loyal and generous supporter and advocate of ours, that you understand the plight of people who have no homes. But there are many ways that the problem presents itself. And as it happens, one of our most daunting challenges in fighting homelessness – getting a child to school in the morning – is also one of our biggest opportunities to end the problem in the future. A well-educated child has a much smaller chance of becoming homeless. Helping parents meet their educational expectations and aspirations for their children is one of the best ways we can help.

But a system that inflicts bias upon our future… the young in our midst… is one that we cannot and will not tolerate. Indeed, nurturing our children’s intellectual curiosity, their talents, their life skills, represents the most vital step in the cycle to end homelessness in this country. Without education, without a good education I should say, there is little future to hope for.

Our city is rife with prejudice. It’s a sad reality. But the one that touches me most is the assumption that people without homes don’t have the same intellectual abilities or ambitions as the rest of us. That’s just untrue. And if not addressed, it’s self perpetuating. Please help us to end this cycle by donating generously now.

Sincerely yours,

Arnold S. Cohen
President and CEO