Quite simply, we exist because there are school children in our community that need our help.
They live in every city, town, village and hamlet in Frederick County. In school year 2016-17, homeless students were found in 61 out of the 66 schools in the Frederick County School System (FCPS). This issue cuts across all grades, all ethnicities. And the numbers continue to grow each school year.
The Frederick County community came together in late 2013 after learning that there are literally hundreds of children within FCPS that are encountering homelessness each year.
It began with the discovery that a 12-year old middle school boy who, living without parents, was in urgent need of a single pair of shoes to replace his broken down flip flops, and with winter approaching fast. Two days later, with the help of dozens in the community, we were able to provide much for this child, to only discover that he was only one of over 600 children in FCPS that were experiencing homelessness at that time.
This child’s dire need and our response became the genesis for what we now know as SHIP – Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership of Frederick County, a non-profit public charity founded in early 2014. We chose our name with much attention to our collective intentions – we’ve taken the initiative as a community and have partnered with individuals, organizations, human service agencies, businesses, and government to advocate and provide for these forgotten and often-overlooked children.