Trustee Dustin Marshall represents District 2 covering North and Near East Dallas. His commitment to ensuring the success of all students is front and center in his efforts to shine a light on serving homeless students. Below is an excerpt from his column which appears in The Advocate.
Helping all students succeed
There are at least 3,500 homeless students in the district—the number is likely significantly higher, since homelessness is underreported—and there are concrete ways we can help these kids.
The Dallas ISD Homeless Education Program does great work supporting these families. Our drop-in centers at 20 high schools—including Woodrow Wilson High School and North Dallas High School in District 2—provide a welcoming and inviting atmosphere for our homeless education students with food, supplies and support.
Meanwhile, I’m proud of a new partnership with After8toEducate, City Square, and Promise House that will provide shelter, support and a 24/7 drop-in center for our estimated 100 “unaccompanied” and unsheltered high school students (meaning they are without a parent or legal guardian and don’t have a home).
If you are looking to support our homeless students, donated food remains the greatest need. Shelf stable food, which includes items like canned food, crackers, ramen, and tuna fish, are the best options.
To give you an idea of what is at stake, the Homeless Education Program recently heard from a Dallas ISD family who had not had access to food for a week. Of course, the department started providing a steady stream of food as soon as they heard. But it is through donated food items that families such as these are fed and supported.
Donated school uniforms are the other big need. Because uniform sizes greatly range from small pre-K students to fully grown high school seniors, the Homeless Education Department said gift cards to Walmart and Target work best. That way, the schools can get the exact uniforms the students’ need. Donated uniforms are also welcome.
To donate either shelf stable food or uniforms, please contact Ashley Marshall, the district’s homeless liaison, at (972) 749-5789 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact your neighborhood school to see how you can help.