Education Assistance Program
For all New Ground adults and children to be successful in school, many services and supplies are necessary. Suffering the trauma of being homeless, most have lost ground in school and need additional support to catch up. Nationally, 75% of homeless children perform below grade level in reading and a homeless child is twice as likely to repeat a grade. Two thirds of adults experiencing homelessness do not have a high school diploma or GED. New Ground families and veterans live on extremely tight budgets and do not have the funds to purchase much needed school supplies and the other tools necessary for academic success. Without our support through the Education Assistance Program, these students would continue to fall behind in school and our adults would never have the opportunity to advance their education and earning potential.
We aim to have every New Ground child receive a rich education experience. The Education Assistance Program provides supplies such as scientific calculators, language dictionaries, and other such specialty items that schools require but do not provide. The program also provides specialized learning tools such as workbooks and computer programs to enhance the education experience. These tools are used by the child with their New Ground tutor and/or parent. Part of the academic experience is participating in school activities and trips. These always come with a cost which homeless parents simply cannot afford. This program covers these fees, allowing every child to participate in school to the fullest extent. New Ground also aims to have every teen graduate from high school and pursue higher education, thus breaking the cycle of homelessness for future generations. Along these lines, our Education Assistance Program funds high school graduation fees, SAT prep courses, college application fees, and much more.
For young adults entering college and our parents and veterans returning to school, there are many costs that are not covered by financial aid. These fees prevent a family/ individual living on a limited budget from pursuing their educational goals and achieving future independence and self sufficiency. The Education Assistance Program pays for college entrance fees, assessment exams, and text books – items that are typically not included in financial aid packages. Computerized learning programs, specialized school supplies, and workbooks are also often required for these adults to study and pass their courses.
At times, there are other needs outside the regular school supply list that must be met for a child or adult to succeed academically. Our Education Assistance Program provides eye glasses for those in need if not covered by insurance. Specialized testing is also provided if the child or adult is believed to have a learning disability. To address learning disabilities, and remove all barriers to success, the program finances expenses of recommended therapeutic interventions to overcome some learning disabilities.
New Ground tracks the success of our children and adults by collecting report cards and progress reports on a regular basis. Social Work staff review report cards with parents and children, modeling best ways for parents to keep on top of academic performance as well as troubleshooting for areas of difficulty and celebrating success. Each academic year, the Education Assistance Program assists 75 – 100 children and adults. For the past few years, New Ground has seen a 100% promotion rate each June for all school age children.
The Education Assistance Program provides the tools and assistance necessary to address difficulties experienced by these homeless students, and ensure overall academic success for all children and adults of New Ground.