Monday, January 22, 2018

Story of Giving by Tiffany Merrill

Dear HLC Team, We are writing this letter to enter the Annual Stories of Giving that your team has so generously created. Let me tell you about our work in support of education and the overall well-being of our students. We currently work as the Foster/Homeless Youth Liaisons in the Bonita Unified School District in San Dimas/La Verne. In our role, we are in contact with approximately 500 foster youth each school year, as well as several homeless families that are of course in need of emergency support. As a school district, and at each school site, we are limited financially as to what we can do to help these individuals and families, no matter how deep our desire. Throughout the year we reach out to the families for ongoing support; therefore, when there is a crisis these students and families reach out to us. Our team works hard to support as many needs as we can; however, financial constraints and limited budgets hinder providing the assistance and resources they need. Some of the needs that have arisen in this school year alone include: emergency motel payment to keep one more night of shelter, bus passes for multiple homeless family children to get to school, grocery store gift cards for that night’s meal, a refrigerator so a family with six children could keep perishables, clothes and shoes for children, science camp gear/clothes for children, birthday treats (Starbucks drink or a cupcake) for our foster youth who reside in group homes and homeless students, school letterman jacket for a worthy athlete, school spirit wear so students feel a part of the community, and additional costs that arise for our students that schools cannot absorb or sponsor. Although our role lies on the educational side for our students, we cannot help but recognize additional critical needs by looking at the whole child. As such, we are sometimes the people in the best position to know the specific needs and are willing to make the effort to meet them. Thank you for your consideration! Sincerely, Tiffany Merrill, Foster Youth Liaison, Bonita Unified School District Mo Williams, Foster Youth Liaison, Bonita Unified School District

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