Child homelessness isn’t something we are confronted with daily. Some may not even realize exists in our community, but it is everywhere. It’s in every city across the nation. That’s why this month – National Homeless Youth Awareness month– is so very important. Across the country, children are affected each day by the instability and trauma that homelessness brings, and they don’t always have access to the necessary resources – whether food and shelter, proper clothing or educational support so they don’t fall behind.

While meeting these students’ educational needs is at the heart of what we do, we are also advocates for their families and we work to educate our community on the issues that surround child homelessness. The more people who understand the widespread impact of homelessness, the more people we have working together as a community to provide solutions to end child homelessness and its devastating effects.

Here are four ways you can join us in bringing greater awareness and support to the children who need it most during this month of awareness and throughout the year.

1. Get Educated

We are huge proponents of all types of education and encourage those interested in learning more to seek out opportunities near you now and throughout the year! Here are just a few ideas:

2015 Education PanelJoin us Wednesday, November 11 at 6 pm in the Krannert room of Clowes Memorial Hall for Be the Solution to Childhood Trauma: Increase Knowledge, Empower Learning, Deepen Impact. School on Wheels’ community outreach and advocacy group, SPOKES, is presenting this free education panel event in partnership with Butler University and Clowes Memorial Hall. This event will inform the community of the impact traumatic experiences and stress can have on a child’s brain, behavior and ability to learn.

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week runs November 14-22 and is a great time to find a workshop or event that will help you better understand child homelessness. A full list of events can be found at their website.

You can also check out the wealth of resources offered at The National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

2. Be an Advocate

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. This month we’ll be providing a steady stream of stories and infographics that will help shed light on the issue of homelessness and its impact. You can share these stories with your co-workers, friends and family. The more people know, the more they can help.

Additionally, each month we send Chalk Talk, our email newsletter, to our subscribers. By signing up for this newsletter (link in the footer!), you’ll stay informed about what School on Wheels is doing in the community and the difference our programs are making with the help of our volunteers and donors.

3. Volunteer 

Our entire service model is driven by volunteers. Individuals ages 14 and older can commit one hour each week to tutor a child in one of our thirteen partner locations, and volunteers ages 11-13 can volunteer with a guardian 18 or older. Other volunteer opportunities include special events, office support or joining SPOKES, School on Wheels’ community outreach group. You can apply to tutor online or contact our Volunteer Coordinator Samantha Breeling, via email or at 317-202-9100, to learn more.

4. Support Our Kids

Each day from November 23 – December 2, we have a different way for you to get involved with School on Wheels through our 10 Days of Giving campaign. Each of these opportunities will allow you to contribute to our programs and the kids we serve in a meaningful way. Giving back is fun and easy, and it has a huge impact! Check out how you can get involved today!

Support isn’t limited to a certain month. We accept cash and in-kind donations throughout the year. With the support of the community, we are able to provide school uniforms and backpacks filled with school supplies to all the children in our program, build specialized curriculum and offer over 7,700 hours of tutoring each year, and equip the parents of the children we serve to be their best educational advocates so once they leave our program, they’ll continue to have an education champion!

Can we count you in to get involved during Homeless Youth Awareness Month? Leave us a comment below and let us know!