SHIP works closely with Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) personnel at the school level to provide much needed items on a regular basis. These supports include:
As these children are typically living in transitional circumstances, maintaining proper personal hygiene can be challenging. SHIP periodically makes requests of the community for a wide variety of hygiene items including: soap and body wash, shampoo, tooth brushes and paste, shaving cream, toilet paper, and deodorant.
The children SHIP serves are in constant need of clothing and footwear due to growth and seasonal changes. Because many of these children have never experienced the delight of something new and personal, SHIP works to provide new clothing for these children.
SHIP understands the value and benefit of experiences where children can discover a passion, or learn a new skill. Many times, access to these experiences can help positively shape the child for the rest of their lives.
Sadly, the circumstances of these homeless youth thwart access to these experiences. That is why SHIP provides funding for out-of-school extracurricular activities, from music lessons to art camps and sport programs. For older youth, we provide funding and facilitation for a broad range of activities including Prom, drivers training, creative art experiences, even financial literacy training.
If a child desires to participant in something that interests them, we’ll find a way to make it happen.
Working with The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, when no other options exist, SHIP provides emergency shelter for students and their families who initially fall into homelessness. By providing a room over their head, even on a temporary basis, it is our intention to relieve the stress of the situation so that professional case management can work to help the family make improvements in their lives.
High school graduation is the single most significant predictor for improving socio-economic status and success. Sadly, homeless youth face numerous barriers to successful completion of high school. The homeless family’s instability leads youth to have poor attendance or be chronically absent from school, which leads to failing courses, being held back from grade to grade and dropping out of school. The emotional impact of homelessness leads homeless students to have more disciplinary issues, which in turn makes them disinclined to enjoy school and learning in general.
Now in its second year, New Horizons is a six-week summer program for homeless youth that helps our local homeless youth to complete their studies and earn a high school diploma. Held in local Frederick County Public School high schools, New Horizons provides academic training and credit recovery each morning, followed by part-time jobs in the afternoon.
Numerous community organizations have come together to develop and support this program including The Community Foundation of Frederick County, Frederick County Public Schools, YMCA of Frederick County, United Way of Frederick County, and Frederick County Workforce Services.
It is estimated that 1.6 to 1.7 million youth experience homelessness on their own each year.
These youth live in a variety of unsafe, temporary situations, including cars, parks, the homes of others, shelters, and motels. Most of these young people have left home due to severe family dysfunction, including abuse and neglect. Studies have found that 20-40% of unaccompanied homeless youth were abused sexually in their homes, while 40-60% were abused physically. Over two-thirds of unaccompanied homeless youth report that at least one of their parents abuses drugs or alcohol. 20-40% of unaccompanied homeless youth identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning.
Seeking to continue expanding services that support our students, SHIP, with the help and support of our Leadership Frederick County’s Leaders on Loan team, intends to pilot an intensive mentoring program beginning in late Spring 2018. Modeled in part after other successful programs found elsewhere, we expect to initially focus our efforts upon unaccompanied youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian, and in their mid-to-late teens.