Schools Supt. sets up fund for city's 1500 homeless students - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Schools Supt. sets up fund for city's 1500 homeless students

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - Making the grade is a challenge for many schoolchildren, but imagine getting your education with no home to return to after school, no warm bed to rest your head at night.

School Board Commissioner Jeff Warren says it's a reality for the 1500 homeless students enrolled in the Memphis City Schools system. "Having to move in and out of schools...not knowing when you're going to get to eat, where you're going to be staying every night."

Memphis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash has identified homelessness as a big challenge facing the city's schools. But now he's taking a new approach to helping homeless students.

With the support of the Department of Human Services and Memphis Area Teachers Credit Union, Cash has set up a youth fund to help students in need purchase hats, gloves, coats and other winter necessities.

Cash has the support of school board commissioners, who agree with the need to provide special resources for some of the school system's least privileged students.

"Unless we get to address the other issues that children have, then we can't get to the high academic achievement," said MCS School Board Commissioner Dr. Freda Wiliams. "So, it's important that we pay special attention to those students that are homeless."

Warren also applauded the move. "We're going to have to be creative, and I'm pleased to see Dr. Cash come up with these great creative ideas to help the most needy, particularly at this time of year," he said.

Cash has longterm plans to reach out to homeless students and to those who move frequently. He's even talked to the board about the possibility of operating schools specifically for those children.

But the school system is walking a tight rope to stay within federal guidelines, so the outreach is just in the discussion stage.

"My greatest hope is that it will let them know that we are thinking of them," said Williams. "That we're thinking of them and that there's hope for their future."

Donations to the MCS Youth Fund are accepted at any Memphis Area Teachers Credit Union or by calling (901) 416-7284 during regular business hours.        


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