Every night an estimated 100 Dallas ISD unsheltered (homeless) students have to sleep in cars, campgrounds, abandoned buildings, and park benches.
These are “unaccompanied” unsheltered high school students, meaning they are without parent or legal guardian and don’t have a home.
Dallas ISD is partnering with Promise House, CitySquare and Social Venture Partners Dallas under the program After8toEducate to bring a first-of-its-kind service to address the needs of these vulnerable students and other unsheltered city youth. The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to support this initiative by repurposing the now vacant Fannie C. Harris Elementary School near Fair Park into a facility that will provide:
- Shelter for 35 Dallas ISD-enrolled high school students;
- Support for academic, emotional, and social services, including tutoring and job training for these students;
- A 24/7 drop-in center for Dallas youth between 14-21 years of age, providing meals, showers, clothing and laundry services.
After8toEducate was the vision of Dallas businessman and philanthropist Jorge Baldor, who collaborated with Social Venture Partners Dallas to develop a plan to address the growing population of area unsheltered youth. After8toEducate will be sustained through the expansion of services now provided by Promise House and CitySquare, with additional support provided by partners and the community.
After8toEducate will host a free community forum on Nov. 13 to share additional details about the collaboration and opportunities for the public, business community, and others interested to support the initiative. Visit after8toeducate.com for event details and registration information.
Here are some thoughts on the new program:
“Dallas ISD is proud to be the first school district in the nation to directly partner with agencies providing shelter, education, and other support services, in addition to a 24/7 drop-in facility. Offering these services under one roof, with our partners, will make a vast improvement in the lives of a growing number of unsheltered youth in our school district.” — Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa
“Each of our partners brings proven complementary strengths to our plan to reduce the growing number of unsheltered Dallas youth and setting them on a path for success. Together with Dallas ISD, Promise House, CitySquare, and Social Venture Partners, we will provide an environment of stability and self-sufficiency for homeless Dallas ISD high school students and other youth in our area.”— Hillary Evans, After8toEducate executive director
“We are working to change the trajectory of these young people’s lives. We have an epidemic on our hands in Dallas today, and if we are truly going to make a difference, we must move beyond discussion and act now to make a difference in the lives of unsheltered youth. With this program, we are taking an entrepreneurial approach backed by partners who share a commitment to unsheltered youth and to our community.” — Businessman and philanthropist Jorge Baldor