MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Neighborhood School in Binghampton is one of the only private schools in the nation to open up dormitories for the poorest of the poor.
Students there are not orphans, they just need someone to watch over them while their parents struggle with life's ups and downs.
Carnisha Rhodes' day begins in the girls dormitory on the Neighborhood School campus. It is a setting much different than the eleven year old's home in Binghampton.
"At home it's fun, but I just sit down and watch TV. Not a lot of activities," Rhodes said.
Rhodes' dad is a truck driver, on the road for days at a time. Her mother is in jail. With no one to watch Carnisha at home, her dad turned to The Neighborhood School for help.
"It's like a place that God has sent me," Rhodes said.
Neighborhood School President Dr. Charles Beady watches over 135 children, some who live on campus and some who do not.
Dormitories are divided by sex. With room for 14 boys and 14 girls.
"If we weren't here. If we didn't intervene, some of the lives would probably grow up to become the kind of statistics we don't want to see you reporting on the nightly news," Beady said.
The Neighborhood School teaches a faith-based curriculum to students in K through 8th grade.
Artez Campbell's grandmother chose the Neighborhood School for him and his siblings because she is a single grandmother who works.
"I hate to think about where they'd be if they weren't here," grandmother Joyce Harper said.
In addition to class work, students learn how to live a life with rules and structure.
Abok Nebk is a refugee from Sudan. Her mother does not speak English, and cannot afford the gas to drive Abok to school.
"We don't got no rules at home. But we have rules here," Nebk said.
Pam Howell is dorm mother at the school. One of a handful of paid staff members and volunteers.
"I just want to be there for them. Love them and give them the attention that they need," Howell said.
Carnisha Rhodes said that attention lets her live a better life and get closer to God.
The Neighborhood School charges parents $100 tuition per year if they can afford it. Funding comes from private donations and the school spends about $5,000 on each student's education.
You can make a donation and learn more about the school by clicking here.