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At Back-to-School Time, Help Provide Uniforms for Homeless Children in Capitol Hill Schools

It’s back to school for our kids – and homeless kids living in a decrepit shelter just a few miles from the Hill.

When you buy back-to-school supplies and clothes for your kids, please consider buying uniforms for a few of the 100s of homeless children who attend public schools on Capitol Hill.

It’s easy to help: Buy one or more uniforms on Amazon and the items will ship directly to the Playtime Project (the organization districting them to DC General families): http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/SGKH8FLM7WFU/ref=cm_sw_su_w

With the ongoing news of terrible conditions at the old D.C. General Hospital (especially in the wake of Relisha Rudd’s disappearance), this uniform drive is something we can do to help children living day-to-day at a shelter just around the corner.

Ask a co-worker and a friend or neighbor to purchase a uniforms too. Purchases are tax deductible.

More info about the uniform drive here: https://www.facebook.com/ClothetheKidsCapHillUniformDrive

New uniforms for these kids WILL make a difference! They need a uniform 5 days a week and not only do they have the means to buy enough shirts and pants for 5 days, there is no clothes washing facilities at DC General, making it very hard to go to school in clean uniforms.

We understand from teachers and advocates for homeless kids that clean clothes (which this uniform drive provides) can help cut down on bullying (sadly) and improve the confidence and sense of dignity of the child.By Liz Festa and Beth Bacon

 

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Capitol Hill Uniform Drive Kick Off: Support ALL Children in Our Area Schools – by Liz Festa

20140516_105025_2CHPSPO and the venerable Playtime Project at the DC General Shelter are proud to kick off the Capitol Hill Uniform Drive from the week Memorial Day to the end of the school year. The uniform drive will benefit children living at the shelter and with limited access to school clothing, hygiene items and laundry facilities.

From green to grey, pale yellow to red, white and blue, we have assembled over 1,230 uniform items and hundreds of pairs of underwear, socks and toiletries for the 310 kids designated as homeless (in the shelter or unstable/temporary housing) attending school right here in Capitol Hill area public schools. That’s according to our tally (based on calls and OSSE data.)  Their identities are kept confidential and they are housed in small rooms at the DC Shelter, where conditions are by all accounts deplorable, lacking sanitary outdoor play areas, hot water and laundry facilities.

I would like to say 310 kids, but the number is 309 now without Relisha Rudd, who is still missing and who attended Payne Elementary School in our neighborhood and disappeared from here, as well. This uniform drive is a tribute to her and others children who are among the ranks of DC’s growing homeless family population.

At the peak of hypothermia season (late February/early March), there were over 1,400 children living in emergency shelters in DC. Of these, about 600 children were living at DC General Shelter, at full capacity. The rest were placed in motels on the outskirts of the city and in recreation centers. Overall, the number of families living in emergency shelters had increased by 130% since just last year.

Right now, there are approximately 500 children living at DC General Shelter.After consulting with homeless families advocates, we learned that uniforms are of vital importance to the dignity and well-being of kids while in our public schools. Kids just want to fit in and don’t want to come to school in the wrong clothes or soiled ones. They are very conscious of clothes that are too small, sweat stains, lack of deodorant, the same shirt appearing unwashed several days in a row. Bullying and stigmatizing of kids who are living in challenging conditions can ensue.

So, with that in mind, we have worked up a list of all the colors and sizes kids at local public schools need.

There are about 15 schools included in the drive, from Amidon-Bowen to Walker Jones, where the homeless population ranges from 1 to 82, but those numbers are always in flux and tend to rise through the year.

The biggest need will be for the ubiquitous white shirts and navy or khaki pants in large sizes. We’ve “shopped” for you!  You will find these and all the  sizes and colors needed, including generic clothing items for the schools without a uniform, at the Amazon wishlist on the Playtime Project and CHPSPO websites. Donations made through the Playtime Project are tax-deductible as the Project is a 501(c)3.  Because it serves children and teens at the shelter, the Playtime Project is best equipped to fill the needs of the kids at the point of day when they need the uniforms. They know all the kids, and know that they like to go to school already dressed in uniform, the better to blend in with their peers.
Clothing bought on-line and donations will be collected at Evolve Property Management though their kind donation of space at 1344 H Street NE.  Evolve also served as a point of collection for the DC Holiday Pajama Drive.

Be sure to thank them!

Other partners include the Maury Elementary Girl Scouts and some talented elementary school artists in the area who have created posters and will be distributing their own flyers throughout the neighborhood, as will Eliot-Hine Middle School students.

Ready to donate or get the word out to others?

  • Help us get the word out by telling your school communities, friends and neighbors

Extra clothing can be used at a number of schools with the highest need. For example, Miner, Maury and Payne have similar uniform codes and are quite close to each other. Children grow every month, it seems, and will quickly need new clothing, so don’t worry about too many white shirts or khaki pants and navy skirts/dresses!

*The schools are Amidon-Bowen, Brent, Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan, Eastern SHS, Eliot-Hne, Ludlow-Taylor, Maury, Miner, Payne, Peabody ES, School within a School, Stuart Hobson, Tyler, Walker Jones, Watkins, and J.O. Wilson. —  Of those, Peabody did not have a homeless population (at the time of our tally) and Eliot-Hine has a grant for uniforms at this point needs toiletry items.

Thanks so much!

Email Liz Festa with any questions twodecks (at) comcast (dot) net

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CHPSPO Meeting Notes – April 23, 2014

Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Payne Elementary School, 1445 C St., SE
April 23, 2014 – 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

  1. Bike to School Day (Jennifer Heffernan, DDOT)

o   Register your school (even if you’re not making the Lincoln Park event): http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/user/login?destination=node/add/event (Create the account, then register for goodies from DDoT)

o   US Department of Transportation’s Acting Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Victor Mendez will participate

o   National Center for Safe Routes to School will join us

o   How to get more low income families to participate?

o   WABA Bicycle Ambassadors to direct bike trains?

o   Golden Bicycle Competition – school w/ greatest percentage of cycling (and skating, scooting, tricycling) population in DC wins!

  1. Discussion of Homeless Children Attending Capitol Hill Schools and What Our Community Can Do to Help (Lauren Conley,  Homeless Children’s Playtime Project )

o   Playtime Project philosophy: Play is a human right. Playtime Project delivers structured play (snacks, art, movement) at shelters

o   Every DC school (by law) has a homeless liaison. DCPS contact list: http://osse.dc.gov/publication/dcps-homeless-liaison-contact-list

o   Law requires funds for field trips, uniforms, transportation, etc: application of the law depends on the school’s ability: schools automatically enroll homeless children.

o   How we can help

      • Uniform drives
      • Halloween costume drive (by playtime)
      • Holiday gifts
      • Backpacks filled w/ school supplies
      • Socks, underwear
      • Gently used books, outside toys
      • Baby things
      • Talk to your kids about empathy, teasing, etc
      • Mentorship program? Girls Inc? Girls on the Run, Big Brothers:
      • Capitol Area food bank (lesson + bag of groceries)
      • Weekend food; Backpack w/ food for the weekend. http://feedingamerica.org/
      • Advocacy
      • Ways to support Relisha Rudd

o   Set aside PTA funds for a general fund in her name

o   Washer/Dryers and pantries at every school

o   Letter-writing campaign

o   November Homeless Awareness Month

o   Next Steps: Cornelia Sigworth to assemble homeless families sub-committee to pursue support activities.

 

  1. School Boundaries/Feeder Pattern Discussion (Denise Forte & Marty Welles)

o   Discussion:

o   Next Steps:

    • CHPSPO to look to Working Group Data (to be posted on DME site) at the school level and to http://ourdcschools.org results at Ward level to put together a position on boundary review

o   You can provide feedback on the proposals on http://ourdcschools.org/ (created by Code for DC) through mid-May. All feedback will be made open, while protecting privacy data.

  1. Public Charter School applications and public hearing (Suzanne Wells)

o   Suzanne Wells and Laura testified

o   Two new middle schools could be approved

o   Written testimony accepted until April 25

 Next CHPSPO Meeting:  May 20, 2014

 

Upcoming Events

April 22 – May 5              CHM@L online auction (www.biddingforgood.com/CHML)

April 26          Payne Spring Festival and Bazaar (9am-3pm @ Payne)

April 26          DCYOP @ Eliot-Hine. 12:30pm performance on the blacktop. Stay tuned for the Fall 2014 DCYOP Petting Zoo at Eliot-Hine!

April 26          Ludlow-Taylor Spring Jubilee (2pm-5pm @ Ludlow Taylor)

April 29          Eliot-Hine Career Fair – Register here to present 15 min snapshots

May 5              Eliot-Hine Open Houses – morning and evening

May 7              Bike to School Day (Lincoln Park) – Register your school and join the Fun!

May 10           Laps Around Lincoln (Tyler Fundraiser) 9-11 AM @ Lincoln Park

May 14           Eliot-Hine PTO meeting for incoming families. How to get involved w/ PTO before you enroll.

May 18           Capitol Hill Classic 10K/3K/Fun Run