Family Resource Center, Salinas City Elementary School District

Family Resource Center, SCESD, “Lending Families a Hand Through Information, Referrals and Programs”
Cheryl Camany
110 South Wood Street, #K4 Salinas, CA 93905

Salinas City Elementary School District (pre-school through sixth grade) has a Family Resource Center that serves homeless and foster youth. Last school year, 2016-2017, our staff identified 3,235 homeless students. This is one-third of our district! The data for some previous years is as follows: 15/16 = 3,118, 13/14 = 2,849, 12/13 = 2,042, 11/12 = 1,461, 10/11 = 1,039, 09/10 = 537, 08/09 = 308, 07/08 = 261.

Students receive school clothing or uniforms, sweater or coat, socks, shoes, belts, backpacks, school supplies, personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush/comb, soap/washcloth, etc.), reading books, non-perishable food, blankets, tarps, umbrellas, alarm clocks, bus passes, shower passes, etc. to help ensure success and continuity in their educational process.

Parents receive assistance with obtaining shot records, birth certificates, and social security cards in order to enroll students in school. They are also able to use the computers, fax machine and landline to seek and apply for employment and work on cover letters and resumes. Additional programs and services vary depending on collaboration with other service providers or agencies.

Information on additional community resources is also available to these needy families. One of these resources is Dr. Gerald Newmark’s book “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children.” His message of the five critical emotional needs…to feel respected, to feel important, to feel accepted, to feel included and to feel secure not only facilitates communication within the family but is a resource for self-evaluation. Parents receive a copy of this book as well as the document “Becoming a Student of my own Behavior” in order to start the self-reflective process relative to the Five Critical Emotional Needs. This collaborative partnership with the Newmarks compliments a comprehensive program of family and community involvement to increase overall student success.

Hope is also an important aspect of what our Family Resource Center provides to these needy families. Hope creates an idea that goals can be achieved. The Center provides a seed of hope to the children creating a desire in them to do their best in school and understand that they too have an opportunity to go to college, to have a career, and to end the poverty they are experiencing as children when they are adults. This supporting environment helps children to understand their self-worth and heighten their self-esteem. The program offers a truth to homeless and foster children that they desperately need to know. This truth is that every child in America has a right and the opportunity to achieve their dreams through education.

Many homeless and foster children fall behind in school. This creates frustration in the children, the feeling of inadequacy, truancy, anger, and a downhill slope in self-esteem and school grades. It is the goal of our program to lift these children up by providing them with basic school supplies and support that will level the field for them at school. Students attending school fully equipped experience a huge boost in morale overall. Homeless and foster children are then less self-conscious and can focus their energy on learning.

Just like many other organizations we have also received extreme budget cuts. We reach out to the community for the sake of our homeless and foster children in Salinas. Partners like you help us to make a difference in the lives of people in great need. For that and your heart we are so very thankful.