Students attending 15 area charter schools collected $11,000 for the Homeless Children’s Education Fund to help ensure the estimated 3,000 homeless students in Allegheny County receive a proper education.
“The students grabbed the idea,” said Jeremy Resnick, executive director and co-founder of Propel Schools. “They did everything from penny wars between classrooms to putting on a big art show and selling tickets for it. There was just a huge range of activity across the schools that the students led, and it’s inspiring.”
Students from 10 Propel schools participated. Resnick said many of them can relate to the issue of homelessness.
“Over the last couple years, we’ve just had a lot of students and families that are impacted by it,” Resnick said. “So it was a cause that really resonated with our students, and they did a tremendous job.”
Joe Lagana, CEO and co-founder of HCEF, said 100 percent of the money raised by the students will go to educational programming, summer camps and seminars at the organizations 25 shelters.
“We’re going to be working with them this summer with field trips,” Lagana said.
The number of local homeless children is increasing, Lagana said. Of the 3,000 homeless children in Allegheny County, roughly 2,200 of them live in the suburbs, he said.
“I think that the big issue is that people stuck in poverty right now are not experiencing the change in the economy,” Lagana said. “Many of them are still without permanent jobs, many of them are still struggling with transportation, and obviously then their children are the net result of that struggle.”
Resnick said he hopes Propel’s participation also taught students a sense of social responsibility.
“Projects like this are important ways, both for the students to see what they can accomplish, but also for the community to see what students can accomplish,” Resnick said. “Given the response that we’ve had from students at Propel and at the other charter schools, this is probably something we’re going to want to do again.”