April 11, 2017 - 6:01 pm
Las Vegas High School staff members are ramping up efforts to help homeless students.
The school, 6500 E. Sahara Ave., has 65 Title I HOPE (Homeless Outreach Program for Education) students, but there are many more students who don’t qualify but still need assistance.
“We have at least 600 ‘residential’ students who are staying on someone’s couch or some other temporary living situation,” said Danielle Anthony, a freshman counselor at LVHS. “We asked ourselves what we could do to fill in those gaps, so we started working on a donation center.”
Title I is the federal education law that provides funding to elementary and secondary schools for programs and services to help poor students.
“There are a lot of services for kids in elementary school and middle school, but when they get to high school, a lot of that falls away,” said Jennifer Sims, another freshman counselor and head of Title I HOPE for LVHS.
Sims and Anthony sought donations of school supplies, nonperishable food, clothes and hygiene products. They reached out to Project 150, a nonprofit that helps homeless students, to help provide food. Project 150 put together bags of food to sustain students over the weekends.
The largest donation came from the Las Vegas High School Alumni Association in the form of a 45-foot tractor-trailer to use as a distribution center. It needed repairs and to be relocated, assistant principal Derek Stafford said.
“It needed a little welding, and we added stairs,” Stafford said. “The big thing was getting it moved. We moved it out back to because it was too close to the building for fire regulations, and it was a bit of an eyesore.”
Trucking firms were quoting prices around $1,000 to move the trailer, but Anthony and Sims contacted nearby Whiting Brothers Rock City, and the owners volunteered their time and the use of a truck.
“The money we saved can now be spent on more supplies for the kids,” Anthony said.
Homeless students tend to try not to draw attention to their status. Sims and Anthony rely on teachers to look for the subtle signs and to direct students in need to their offices. The word has spread, and students have started going to the counselors for help.
The donations currently are housed in five closets and offices across the school. They hope to have the trailer ready as a distribution center after the summer break.
Sims and Anthony are always seeking donations. They also hope to paint the trailer in LVHS red and are seeking volunteers to help paint it and an airless paint sprayer that can be borrowed.