Mission: To raise the self-esteem of homeless youth in the Kansas City area by providing new clothing at the beginning of the school year.
Families who are experiencing homelessness have multiple difficult issues to deal with, and clothing for children returning to school is one that is often not able to be addressed or afforded by these families. The Back-to-School project aims to provide three new outfits, a pair of shoes, and a winter coat to homeless children in each family participating in Strengths Based Case Management.
The children who receive new back-to-school clothing benefit in increased self-esteem, which translates to increased success at school. Teachers and parents report that homeless children who are able to go to school wearing brand new clothing begin the school year with optimism, a renewed enthusiasm for classroom participation, and an improved self-image. The entire education system benefits from the success of these children as youth who have high self-esteem are less likely to be disruptive in the classroom, participate more fully in classroom discussion and achieve greater long-term successes in their educational pursuits.
One child who participated in the project wrote the following:
Thank you so much for donating to me and my family so we could start school with new clothes and shoes along with everyone else. I feel speechless that I got so much stuff just for me, brand new. I can’t explain how thankful I am for all your help to help me to start school with everything. Elizabeth
Community partners donate money so the case manager can shop for the children. If the youth receiving clothing is high-school age, he shops with his case manager. This enables him to choose the clothing he wants, as well as gain a real-life budgeting experience.
To learn more about how you can participate in the MAAC Back to School Clothing Project click here.