Broward Education Foundation Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Homeless Students

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Paul is an exemplary 17 year-old student. He has a 4.7 GPA and will
attend the University of Southern California this fall on a full
academic scholarship to study aeronautical engineering. During high
school, Paul woke up every day at 4 a.m. to ride his bike 12 miles to
school. On the way, he’d stop at McDonald’s to wash up. Paul also is one
of 2,300 homeless students attending Broward County public schools.


To bring awareness to youth homelessness in Broward County and raise
funds to provide them with everyday necessities, the Broward Education
Foundation launched a 60-day crowdfunding campaign on Crowdrise under
Broward Education Foundation where donors can view a powerful
behind-the-scenes documentary. The page can be found by visiting https://www.crowdrise.com/helpthehomelessyouth/fundraiser/browardeducationfoun.

“This is a real problem that (few) know about,” said Ned MacPherson, a
Broward Education Foundation board member who is spearheading the
campaign and who coordinated the video. “These kids live in horrendous
conditions. It’s nothing short of miraculous that students like Paul
overcome living on the streets to go to college. It’s amazing how
tenacious and resilient they are. You’ll see that in the video.”

In the video, donors will also meet 8 year-old Samara, who has been
living in and out of a car with her mom, and Passha, who has lived on
the streets since she was 12 years old, and who will attend FAMU this
fall on a full academic scholarship. Passha talks about how she would
hide in all night laundromats, hiding behind washers and dryers to
protect herself from predators.

“The students hide their situation at school,” said Broward Education
Foundation Board Member and Broward School Board Member Ann Murray.
“They are uncomfortable and embarrassed, but they need our help.
Sometimes there is a two to three week wait before their families can
move into a homeless shelter.”

One of the misconceptions surrounds what homeless youth need. Paul, for
example, describes in the video that he had 10 sweaters. He was thankful
for the donated sweaters, but he only needed one. What homeless youth
really need are bus passes, which other than a bike is their only form
of transportation, Publix or WalMart gift cards and toiletries.

“The need is real and the stories are powerful,” said Thomas P.
Severino, president/CEO of the Broward Education Foundation. “We are
already seeing incredible community support for our campaign. Dr. Nabil
El Sanadi, president and CEO of Broward Health, made the first donation
to the crowdfunding campaign, contributing $5,000. Together, we can have
a positive impact on the lives of homeless students.”

According to the Homeless Education Assistance Resource Team
(H.E.A.R.T.), which helps families, children and youth in transition, of
the 2,323 youth identified as homeless: 19% resided in shelters; 64%
were doubled-up; 5% resided in a car, park, campground, bus or other
public place; 11% resided in a hotel or motel; and 1% were awaiting
foster care placement. Of the total number of students identified as
homeless, 318 were unaccompanied homeless youth, an increase of 64 from
2012-13.

“What began as a three minute video, turned into a documentary,” said
Carol Mitchell of H.E.A.R.T. “Ned realized as he was filming how
compelling these kids and their situations are and that their stories
cannot fit into a condensed video. Hopefully when donors see this, they
will want to help us help our students.”

About the Broward Education Foundation:

Established in 1983, the nonprofit Broward Education Foundation (BEF)
aligns with Broward County Public Schools by providing support for
innovative teaching to advance Pre K-12 achievement; critically needed
educational materials for Title I school teachers and students, and
scholarships for qualified high school seniors. Each year, the
Foundation contributes more than $2 million to Broward County schools,
serving as the catalyst for educational excellence.

For more information, call 754-321-2030, visit www.browardedfoundation.org,
like our Facebook page at facebook.com/browardeducationfoundation or
follow us on twitter @BrowardEdFound.

Contacts

Broward Education Foundation
Shea Ciriago, 754-321-2030
shea.ciriago@browardschools.com