Volunteering in Humboldt park, Chicago – school outreach on housing issues
On Wednesday afternoon, October 23, we (two European fellows: Boba Baluchova from Slovakia and Lia Gaudi from Romania as CCH interns) decided to join three Community organizers from “Chicago coalition for the Homeless” (CCH) and leaders from organization “Casa Central – La Posada” in order to help them during school outreach in the area of Humboldt Park. It is one of the neighborhoods in Chicago – widely known for its large Puerto Rican presence. We were divided into groups of two – to be sure that at least one person in group is able to speak Spanish fluently.
The goal of this outreach was: contacting adults/parents in front of the Lowell elementary school (while waiting for their children coming out from school) and sharing particular information. We told them about special educational rights and school support (according to U.S. law) for children from families – struggling with housing issues (homeless families, doubled-up families, moving families without regular place to stay etc.). These children should receive free transit cards, fee waivers for uniforms, field trips etc. in order: not to be discriminated or excluded.
CCH people, few leaders from Casa Central (mothers and women from this Latino community) and us (volunteers – European fellows) tried to raise awareness about educational rights and encourage people to ask for them. Many adults in front of the Lowell elementary school have known somebody else in neighborhood – experiencing homelessness or “doubled-up” life (sharing the house with another family), but they haven’t known about this possibility – to ask Homeless liaison (particular person in every single school – dealing with housing issues of students) for support for their children. It was very interesting practical activity in the field.Text by Boba Baluchova