Springdale students gather to raise funds, awareness of homelessness

Springdale event raises money for district program

Citlali Aldaco, (from the left) Addison Farmer and Rebekah Lamb, all Har-Ber High School students, talk about different kinds of housing insecurity Tuesday March 2, 2024 during a fundraiser for housing insecure Springdale students at Sam's Furniture in Springdale. Student volunteers set up displays and were on hand to educate visitors about different types housing insecurity. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. Wampler)
Citlali Aldaco, (from the left) Addison Farmer and Rebekah Lamb, all Har-Ber High School students, talk about different kinds of housing insecurity Tuesday March 2, 2024 during a fundraiser for housing insecure Springdale students at Sam's Furniture in Springdale. Student volunteers set up displays and were on hand to educate visitors about different types housing insecurity. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. Wampler)


SPRINGDALE -- High school students assembled to spark awareness about homelessness at the School District's Hearts for Homelessness fundraiser Tuesday night at Sam's Furniture.

The event raised money for Families in Transition, a program providing help to students and families facing homelessness or living in a transitional situation, said Reina Hart, the district's Families in Transition liaison.

Hart said about 930 students in the Springdale district currently qualify for Families in Transition assistance, which includes basic needs such as food, clothing and transportation. That number was around 850 at the end of the last school year, Hart said.

"If their basic needs aren't met, it's hard for them to learn in a classroom," Hart said.

The Families in Transition program is funded by a federal grant, and Tuesday's event generated money to fill the financial gap the federal dollars don't cover, Hart said.

"We're here to support those families and to provide as many things as we possibly can for them," Hart said.

The district partnered with Sam's Furniture on the fundraiser, Hart said.

Transitional living situations can include families living in vehicles, hotels, tents or at campgrounds, said Brittni Helms, the district's lead social worker. Families can also be doubled up -- living together because of financial hardship -- or simply have nowhere to go, Helms said. The district has social workers assigned to every school to help students and families, at school and at home, Helms added.

"We're not here to judge," she said.

The students gathered under a white tent next to Sam's Furniture as a biting wind whipped around the area. They were there to discuss homelessness and accept donations.

The students attended the fundraiser because they wanted to be there to show support for students going through homelessness, Helms said.

"I don't see many people talking about it," said Sayda Esquivel, a ninth grader at the Tyson School of Innovation. "I think there's supposed to be more awareness. Right now, it's really cold, and I can't imagine being without a house."

Yulisa Camacho is a senior at Har-Ber High School.

"There's a lot of kids that are suffering, families that have no help," Camacho said. "For me, I would like to work with kids. I just see how kids suffer. The idea of talking about it to people that don't know is a great help. Even though we're not doing anything particularly, we're just talking about it, I think that brings awareness to our community."

The event started at 5 p.m. and was scheduled to last until 10 p.m., according to information from the district. About 25 students were there at 6 p.m.

  photo  Michelle Anguiano, Har-Ber High School senior, educates visitors about housing insecurity Tuesday March 2, 2024 during a fundraiser for housing insecure Springdale students at Sam's Furniture in Springdale. Student volunteers set up displays and were on hand to educate visitors about different types housing insecurity. Visit nwaonline.com/photo for today's photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. Wampler)
 
 


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