As summer comes to an end, students around the DMV are preparing to return to school after a year of virtual learning. Virtual learning presented many challenges during the pandemic, especially for those from low-income families.
Many students did not have a device to log into classes or access to the internet at home. For families staying in SOME’s (So Others Might Eat) affordable housing, their average annual household income is under $14,000. These financial constraints make it difficult to afford rent and electricity and put food on the table, let alone any items for school.
The economic stress felt by those who lost their jobs and income due to COVID-19 is even greater for families who are also trying to afford bookbags, school supplies, uniforms—everything a child needs for school. Virtual learning also caused a tremendous loss in social and emotional development. The overall stress in their homes can impact the kids, many of whom may have already experienced trauma or hardships such as homelessness, domestic violence, community violence, and more. According to the DC Policy Center Report, even before the pandemic, 44% of D.C.’s children had been exposed to at least one adverse childhood experience (ACE).
SOME has a proven history of supporting families in difficult times.
In 2008, Ms. Jones and her family moved to Independence Place, one of SOME’s affordable family housing properties, after she lost her car and apartment due to becoming unemployed during the recession. Taking advantage of the supportive services offered to her as a resident, Ms. Jones created a plan with the Family Services Clinical team to overcome past trauma.
Her caseworker helped her find a job, rebuild her finances, and purchase a car with an affordable monthly payment. She continues to thrive and now lives in SOME’s Accelerated Housing Program, posturing herself for homeownership in the next year or so. Even her daughters, Precious and Derricka, thrived in school with the support of the Family Services Education and Engagement program.
The Education and Engagement Program at SOME’s Family Services provides:
- Tutoring, High School Transition seminars, and College Prep for high school students
- Uniform Assistance—Parents are reimbursed for money spent on uniforms
- Education Advocacy Program—Families are educated and empowered with the knowledge they need to navigate the education system and connect their children to services. SOME staff even work as advocates for the parent at school meetings.
- Summer Camp Tuition Program—Pays up to $700 for a child to attend summer camp
- SPFK (SOME Place for Kids)—An on-site afterschool program, available to all SOME students
- SOME Scholarships—Scholarships for students going to college
- Social Events—TRACE (Teen Resident Action Committee on Empowerment) events and SOME’s Annual Back to School cookout
This year, 100% of the high school seniors living in SOME’S family housing are graduating and 88% of SOME graduating high school students plan to attend college. SOME removes barriers for students to graduate school and supports those looking to continue their education by assisting families with tuition and educational fees.
For students who are away at college, SOME Family Services provides them with care packages. Most students who go away to college are leaving home for the first time, and the care packages include a little reminder of home: an encouraging word from staff, school supplies, food, snacks, and more. Counseling services are also available to ensure students can get support with the stress that may come from being in an unfamiliar environment and college life.
Ms. Jones shared, “I am grateful and very proud of both of my daughters who both graduated this past May. Precious is 21 and she graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. And Derricka, 19, graduated and got her license as an esthetician.”
To put together one or more backpacks filled with supplies or give a monetary donation to the 2021 SOME Back to School campaign, click here.
To purchase educational games and learning kits for all eight of SOME’s Family Housing locations, visit our Amazon Wishlist of educational games and kits.