Your support makes it possible to help those in need
“School’s Out for Summer!”
This phrase continues to elicit huge smiles from kids all across America as they finish out the school year and look forward to enjoying their summer vacation.
But for 15-year-old Billy, who lives at the Nashville Rescue Mission, this phrase is a source of anxiety and concern. At least during the school year, he has somewhere to go and something constructive to do. Summer, while fun for most kids, just brings more instability to Billy’s life, as well as the lives of the other kids living at the Nashville Rescue Mission.
Increasing Number of Homeless Kids
Homeless kids tiptoe in a world of insecurity, hoping to be invisible. According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, 1.6 million children are homeless at some point in time each year. According to the Tennessee Department of Education, the number of homeless children enrolled in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools has increased steadily since 2005, reaching well over 2,000 in 2011.
“It might not exactly be home, but for now, it’s all we have.” –Tina
In the last six months, the Mission has had as many as 50 kids staying per night. Billy and his mom came to the Mission in September 2011. His mom is disabled and unable to work. They lost their apartment and had no idea where to go.
Tina, who has custody of her five grandkids, found her way to the Mission a little over a month ago. With their father in prison, Tina was granted custody of her grandkids after their mom left them alone in a hotel room full of drugs. When the kids got sick and Tina had no childcare, she was forced to miss work, eventually losing her job and her apartment, leaving them with no place to go.
Life at the Mission
“This is the first time I’ve stayed at a homeless shelter,” says Billy. “It was scary at first. I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been a huge adjustment. I had to transfer schools. I had to make new friends. I miss having my own room, but I’m grateful my mom and I have a safe place to stay.”
“I’m glad my mom and I have a safe place to stay.” –Billy
“I never imagined I’d be living in a shelter with my five grandkids,” says Tina. “I love them so much and can’t imagine my life without them. Despite the challenges of living here, the kids are still making A’s and B’s. In fact, the two oldest are in the Encore Program for gifted students. I am so proud of them.”
“It was hard switching schools,” says Ashley, Tina’s only granddaughter. “I’m just glad we have a safe place to live. I enjoy playing with the other kids and when it’s nice outside we get to play on the playground.”
Consequences of Homelessness
The National Center on Family Homelessness recently issued their “State Report Card on Child Homelessness.” Here’s a snapshot from the report:
|• Hunger:||Children without homes are twice as likely to experience hunger as other children. Two-thirds worry they won’t have enough to eat.|
|• Health:||Children who experience homelessness are more than twice as likely as middle class children to have moderate to severe acute and chronic health problems.|
|• Education:||At the end of high school, few homeless students are proficient in reading and math—and their estimated graduation rate is below 25%.|
The report also claims that homeless children “…endure a lack of safety, comfort, privacy, reassuring routines, adequate health care, uninterrupted schooling, sustaining relationships and a sense of community. These factors combine to create a life-altering experience that inflicts profound and lasting scars.”
Help and Hope at the Mission
“It’s been a very humbling experience for us,” says Tina. “I’m not sure where we would have gone were it not for this place. I’m hoping we get approved for housing soon, but until then, we are grateful for the kindness and compassion we’ve received while staying at the Mission.”
With your help, hope for homeless families like Billy’s and Tina’s can be found at the Nashville Rescue Mission. Because you care enough to give, the Mission can provide homeless families nutritious food to eat, clothes to wear and a safe place to sleep. At the Mission, these families attend classes on nutrition and parenting, and receive encouragement through daily devotions. All of these things are made possible through your generosity and support.