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back to school.

Back To School

One week from Thursday, Spokane Public Schools holds its first day of classes. So even though discussing school in mid-August is the one topic of conversation that might be more divisive for families than listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, there’s no denying it: it’s Back-to-School season.

And although parents are mostly pro, Back-to-School can be stressful for students.

To start, Back-to-School means squeezing in the last trip or two to the lake or to an Indians game and enjoying a last lazy day before school gets going.

But practically, it means stocking up on school supplies before the sales end. This used to mean running around to K-Mart for the perfect color Trapper Keeper and the best assortment of Jelly pens, then heading to Radio Shack or Circuit City to pick up a TI-83. It might have even included a trip to Sears for new school clothes. (Now, most of it happens on Amazon.)

Kids at Catholic Charities

Back-to-School is also a big time for Catholic Charities since so many of our clients are school-aged children. Over the next couple weeks, case managers and shelter staff will be hard at work preparing to make sure children in our programs are ready for their first day.

After all, children who are experiencing homelessness still deserve to go to school. As part of the federal McKinney-Vento Act, children experiencing homelessness are entitled to receive transportation to their school of origin.

School Means Stability

At St. Margaret’s Shelter and Rising Strong, for example, case managers are working with local schools to arrange buses to drive the children in our shelter to their schools. Helping kids stay connected to their schools, where they have relationships with friends, teachers and counselors, is a critical part of helping families stabilize.

St. Margaret’s is also preparing for the first day of school at Logan, Stevens, Deer Park and Arcadia Elementary schools. Our community health workers partner with these schools in through Priority Spokane to help identify children whose families are in danger of losing their housing. By offering stabilizing services to families in these schools, St. Margaret’s helps keep families from needing to enter the shelter and disrupting their children’s routines.

In Walla Walla, The Loft is also getting ready for school. The Loft provides shelter for 12–17-year-old youth experiencing homelessness. They might be there after having conflict at home, between foster families, or after living on the street. Often, the kids staying at The Loft have stopped attending school.

Case managers at The Loft help the youth re-enroll in school. Not only is this important so the youth don’t fall behind, but the connections they make at school will help keep them stable when they leave The Loft for a more permanent placement.

How You can Help Students at Catholic Charities

If you want to help students in Catholic Charities shelters, you can bring donations of school supplies to the Family Services Center at 12 E. 5th Ave. in Spokane.

You can also volunteer to help children at St. Margaret’s Shelter with homework after school.

Apply to volunteer at

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