This is why we fight: Caitlyn
It was the first day of school. Caitlyn was a shy, smart 5-year-old. Like many other parents all over the city, her mother walked her into class and showed her to her Kindergarten class. She quietly came into the room, surveyed her surroundings and sat down at a table.
A United Way volunteer greeted her and handed her a backpack of school supplies provided through the Stuff the Bus program. “This is for you,” she said. “It is full of crayons and things for you to use at school or to take home.”
Instead of digging into her new backpack, Caitlyn immediately looked up at her mom and said “Can I tell her?” Her mom hesitated and then said quietly “Yes.” She looked up with her dark, serious eyes and said “I don’t have a home. I live in a shelter.”
Sadly, Caitlyn’s story is not unique. Her family is one of 75 families experiencing homelessness at that particular school. She is among the 94% of students at her school who are living in some level of poverty.
The volunteer looked at Caitlyn and then at her mom. “Well, maybe you can take these supplies there and share them with your friends. Do you have friends there?” “Oh yes,” she replied. “There are tons of kids at the shelter.”
More than 3,500 MNPS students are without a stable place to call home. As our city continues to grow and thrive, it is often easy to forget the staggering number of families being left behind.
United, we can make sure Caitlyn, and the many children like her, have safe, stable housing so they can start each school year focused on learning, not on where they will sleep that night.
This is why we fight.