week 5: this week i'm gonna... help homeless children
In April of 2014, Sasha, James and Shaun* (2 preschoolers and a toddler) were placed in the custody of their father after a series of difficult and chaotic experiences. At the time, their father, Ben, was living in a shelter for homeless families. Times were tough, to say the least.
Within a month, Ben had found Vogel Alcove and enrolled all three children. Sasha, James and Shaun received developmental and socio/emotional screening, and Ben received a referral to a more appropriate transitional housing program. Vogel also provided bus passes, clothing and diapers to the family.
By June of the same year, the family moved into an apartment with one of Vogel’s affiliate partners and began working toward self-sufficiency. In July, Ben was hired as a warehouse supervisor and began earning a living wage.
During this time, as the children adjusted to their new circumstances, Ben spent time with his clinical case manager at Vogel. He learned how his children’s early life experiences had affected them, and he was given parenting strategies for the challenges that their behavior sometimes presented.
In August 2014, Sasha left Vogel Alcove for Kindergarten. Vogel provided her with a backpack filled with school supplies, as well as a school uniform. She was prepped and ready to make new friends and succeed in school!
By September, Ben had bought a car, and in November, he moved from the transitional housing program to his own apartment. That December, he transferred James and Shaun to a childcare center closer to the family's new home.
By the end of 2014, regular contact between Vogel and Ben was no longer necessary, and since then the family has continued to successfully maintain their new life together. The support that the family received from Vogel has helped put their lives on track and given them hope for a brighter future.
* All names have been changed
For more than 25 years, Vogel Alcove has provided free, quality child development services for the youngest victims of poverty: homeless children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. Vogel Alcove is the only comprehensive early childhood education program in the city of Dallas whose primary focus is to provide free childcare and case management for children and their families residing at 18 local emergency shelters, domestic violence shelters and housing programs.
Vogel Alcove works to develop cognitive, motor and literacy skills in order to prepare homeless children to enter school at the same level as their peers. The agency’s free early childhood development services include early childhood education, screens to check for developmental delays (and interventions if necessary), and provision of basic needs (home-cooked meals, infant formula, diapers, shoes and clothing).
Vogel Alcove also provides after-school programs, holiday camps and summer camps for school-age students. In addition, the agency provides family support services, including parent education programs, employment counseling and support, access to healthcare (including mental and dental) and referral to community resources (housing, childcare assistance, etc.).
Vogel Alcove's vision is for every child in the community to have a home, a self-sufficient family and a pathway to success in school. Since its inception, Vogel Alcove has helped more than 13,000 homeless children.
In October 2015, Vogel Alcove welcomed Dallas Fire Engine #4 to their facility. Toddlers and school-age campers enjoyed climbing on the fire engine, trying on the fire helmets, putting on the uniforms, pretending to drive the fire engine, holding the fire ax and pulling out the fire hose! The children also developed emergency exit plans in case of a fire and learned all about fire prevention.
This exposure is important for children so they are not scared when they see fire fighters. It is also important for children to know how to keep themselves safe and how to help their parents during an emergency.
It also looks like it was a lot of fun!
Notes for this week:
- February 2nd is Groundhog Day! Let's hope Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow... we don't need 6 more weeks of winter, and neither do the homeless children of Dallas!
- Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor approximately 2 weeks of childcare at Vogel Alcove for one child.
- For further information regarding Vogel Alcove, please check out their website.
this week i'm gonna donate to Vogel Alcove.