But some students are focused on something else – where they are going to sleep tonight.
582 Champaign County schoolchildren were homeless at some point during the 2018-19 school year*.
The Williams** family – mom and four school-age children - was one of those families. They became homeless and were living in their car.
Through their school social worker, the Williams family was connected with SOS, a United Way grant-funded program. The SOS program was able to immediately shelter the family at a local hotel for four nights and transport the children to school. On the fifth day, the Williams family moved into a two bedroom apartment in the Emergency Shelter for Families, which also receives a United Way grant. During the family's 30 day stay in the shelter, the caseworkers worked with Mrs. Williams to find stable housing for the family and develop a plan for the future.
Thanks to these United Way programs, the Williams children didn’t miss a single day of school, and the family is no longer homeless.
Homeless schoolchildren are at a very high risk of chronic absence. Chronic absence occurs when children miss 10 percent or more of school days – about 18 days a year. Chronic absence can lead to students missing 3rd-grade reading benchmarks, seventh-graders failing math and science, and ultimately, high schoolers dropping out.
Your United Way Community Impact Fund gift supports two programs that provided a network of safety and care for the Williams family when they needed it most. With your support, we are fighting for children to stay in school - and on track for a successful future.