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Helping Brevard’s Students in Transition
By: Sally Schinn, Ed. D., BPS Homeless Liaison
Last year, approximately 3.5 percent of students attending Brevard Public Schools were coded as homeless. Many of these families find themselves in this position due to difficulties that any of us could face—health, employment, natural disasters, lack of affordable housing.
In the past four years, well over 1,800 people including children, parents, college students, churches, retirees, community groups and school staff have taken purposeful steps
to uphold home- less students in our district. Donations come in all shapes
and sizes and have included gift cards, computers, clothing, hygiene products, emergency food supplies, medical treat- ment, musical instruments, athletic gear, after school care and monetary contributions to the Brevard Schools Foundation.
Homelessness is just a time of life, not who you are as a person.
Keeping homeless students focused on their school life and fu- lly participating in school has seen tremendous support leading to both personal and academic success. Knowing they can go
to dances, graduation events, field trips along with their peers, and participate on an athletic team, band or chorus, offers students in transition a great glow of light during tough times. These efforts could not be possible without the consistent, dependable support of the Brevard Schools community.
• BPS warehouse personnel and courier service provide ways for students to get their needs met outside
of normal delivery routines.
• The Space Coast Association of Realtors, in partnership with the Cocoa Beach Hilton organizes a prom
dress giveaway for students-in need every March.
• The Brevard Health Alliance offers complimentary services to students and guides them toward health insurance benefits.
• Schools like Manatee Elementary host clothing drives at the beginning and end of each school year to benefit students in transition.
• The League of Women Voters supplies gift cards to host families to serve our unaccompanied youth. They gather emergency food supports and have organized book and stuffed animal donations for 4,000+ kids in Title I schools.
• The Community Alliance Church of Port St. John
has taken over the BPS clothing distribution facility at Clearlake where hundreds of families have benefitted from donations of clothing and hygiene products that are sent out to schools through the BPS courier service.
  Student Homelessness in Brevard: What Can You Do to Help?
• Donate used computers to Eckerd Connect or Computers for Kids
• Fund field trips for low income students, so the whole class can go
• Provide school with gift cards for unexpected needs of families
• Donate band instruments
• Include a child-in-need in your family’s social events
• Provide emergency food supplies for a family for
school, when needed
• Look around at your own neighborhood and community groups to see what can be done to prevent bad situations for families
• Mentor a student
  Meet Stanley Brizz, Brevard Schools Hero
Under his leadership and supported by Eckerd Connect, Stanley Brizz has taken on the focus of assisting our students-in-transition who face many issues surrounding their lack of safe and consistent housing. When offered the responsibility to take on funds to provide support he designed a comprehensive approach to many challenges. A recent Florida Today Volunteer of the Year awardee, Brizz has been a mainstay in a number of programs that offer counseling services to students countywide including Computers 4 Kidz, which receives donated computers to be refurbished and donated to children in need; and Hi-Five, which provides character education with substance abuse and violence prevention interventions. He has helped feed, shelter and clothe hundreds of children, supporting case managers all the way. Last year, the district had more than 2,800 homeless students and, as a result of Stanley’s efforts, have housed over 250 of them.

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