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Desert Rose benefits from Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Project 150 partnership for student resource center

Hunger pangs and lack of school supplies are no longer a reason to miss class at Desert Rose High School. The school recently opened a new student resource center to help its at-risk student population.

“This center provides a significant resource for many students who have food and resource needs, which can prevent them from attending school,” said Dr. Robert Henry, executive director of the Clark County School District’s Department of Adult Education. “We hope this will increase the students likeliness to engage and graduate. We know when a student is hungry it makes it very difficult to study.”

Desert Rose also offers an Adult High School. Adult students are not able to receive free meals under federal government guidelines, however any student (regardless of age) in need of food and other resources can use the new center — called The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas/Project 150 Student Center — since the school is deemed a Title I school, which refers to the federal education law that provides funding to elementary and secondary schools for programs and services to help economically disadvantaged students succeed.

Students are able to use the room as a place to work, eat and find essential items.

Project 150 is a nonprofit that works to provide basic needs for the Las Vegas Valley’s homeless, displaced and disadvantaged high school students. There are more than 9,284 students who identified as homeless in the school district during the 2013-14 school year, according to Henry.

“This is the first adult school that we’ve partnered with,” said Dr. Brooke Allen-Burnstein, program manager at Project 150, 3600 N. Rancho Drive. “School officials came up to us and asked for help earlier this year. The school fit our criteria perfectly. We look for schools with staff members who want to help the students succeed.”

Desert Rose principal Dr. Janice Polley-Augente estimated that 400 high school students and 700 adult students will benefit from the pantry, which is stocked with soups, granola bars, water and canned tuna fish, as well as daily basic necessities such as hygiene items, clothing and school supplies, as well as computer access for job searches and resume assistance.

The renovation includes two workstations with computers, tables, chairs, a custom-made pantry, television monitors and a kitchenette with a microwave. General Electric Co. Appliances also provided a refrigerator.

Students are encouraged to use the room for job networking, interview practice and internship assistance. A list of agencies will be provided for those needing additional help.

“This isn’t a student lounge — it’s a business center,” Polley-Augente said. “Students can use the printer and fax machine here. We also have a pantry filled with food and other items to ensure that no one will ever go hungry.”

Students in need also can visit Project 150’s facility for additional food and clothing.

The room was previously used for in-school suspension, and the space for student resources was limited to a small corner in a classroom.

“The new center looks nice, much better than the one we had last year,” said student Jesse Wheatly De Forge, 20. “Students used to have to walk to a portable that was hard to find. Having this center here makes it easier because it’s located in the main part of campus. There’s also a big need for this type of help among students.”

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and its employees sponsored and volunteered to remodel the room as part of the Project 150 Resource Room Program. Project 150 serves 47 high schools, and the Desert Rose student center is its 46th resource room.

Any high school student with an ID can shop for apparel and shoes from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Project 150’s Betty’s Boutique. Individual high schools also are invited to shop an additional two Saturdays per month.

“I am thrilled with the potential impact this project will have as a result of the combined efforts of Project 150 and our CoStars (Cosmopolitan employees),” said Daniel Espino, senior vice president of people for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, in a recent press release. “When like-minded individuals passionate about making a change in their community come together, the sky is the limit.”

Student center hours at Desert Rose are from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m., 11:25 to 11:55 a.m. and noon to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hours are subject to change depending on need. Visit desertrosehs.org or call 702-799-6240.

For more information on Project 150, visit project150.org.

To reach North View reporter Sandy Lopez, email slopez@viewnews.com or call 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

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