Education is the key. I spent a couple of years volunteering for the Homeless Children’s Education Fund supporting the Teen Outreach Program known as TOP. The aim of the program is to confront the challenges teenage youth face when experiencing homelessness and to offer a college and career road map to success for each individual identified through HCEF’s partnerships in Allegheny County. I served as a mentor trainer and supported the targeted high school outreach working with students within schools (Brashear and Westinghouse High Schools in the Pittsburgh Public School system). I also volunteered at the summer camp program for children in a local shelter.
The mission of HCEF is to advance the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness, guiding them to be productive, empowered citizens. As a national model for addressing the educational needs of unstably-housed children and youth, HCEF leads a collaborative effort among regional partners by providing educational programs and services in Allegheny County and advocating for policy and system improvement.