Making a Difference
"My Door without a House"
Volunteer/Donors Appreciation Banquet
Iredell-Statesville Schools is nestled in Iredell County, North Carolina, with more than 20,000 students. Iredell-Statesville Schools ranks among the 20 largest school districts in North Carolina, and serves students with an array of academic opportunities within its 36 schools. Tonya Reid, who is a school social worker, as well as the district’s homeless liaison, works diligently to ensure that the district identifies and serves children and youth experiencing homelessness according to the legal mandate of the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
In recognition of the 2016-17 school year volunteers and donors, Ms. Reid crafted and hosted an appreciation event which took place on June 26, 2017. The event was themed “My Door without a House,” and served to acknowledge the volunteers and donors for their support of the Iredell-Statesville Schools Homeless Program. During the 2016-17 school year, Ms. Reid’s outreach resulted in donations from 71 donors totaling $11,447 to the school district. These funds were used to obtain needed personal hygiene items, food, supplies and materials as well as paying required fees for identified students. Another unique use of the funding was the support of “Dirty Laundry Day” which is an outreach effort created by Ms. Reid. Using donated funds Ms. Reid meets identified families at a designated coin laundry to allow them the opportunity to wash clothes at no cost to them. This outreach has been extremely popular and provides a vital service to families.
The appreciation event not only provided acknowledgement of volunteers, donors and school system personnel for their support to the families being served by the program, but also heightened program awareness for all attendees, which included school system employees, community businesses, and local school board members. Key school district staff who work within the program spoke about their involvement in meeting educational, transportation and nutritional needs of the identified students, which gave the volunteers and donors a better understanding of all aspects of the district’s McKinney-Vento program. The event culminated in presentations by 5 families who had experienced homelessness during the school year. These families invited the volunteers and donors through “their door without a house” by sharing their personal stories, and how the district’s homeless education program had impacted their lives.