Assisting Students in Poverty over the Break
For many students living in poverty, the holidays are a very different reality. These students may experience more hunger, violence, illness, and stress during the weeks away from school. It can be hard to find methods of assisting these students.
Knowing students will experience these conditions can leave administrators feeling helpless and unsettled. These feelings are certainly valid, especially this holiday as inflation soars and many families are having to go without basic necessities.
The team at Lighthouse Therapy has pulled together some strategies and resources for assisting students experiencing poverty, in hopes it may ease the burden on them and your community. Feel free to pass this blog onto your staff if you find this helpful.
Understanding and Empathy
Develop an understanding that not everyone’s holiday or time away from school will feel wonderful. Refrain from asking questions or creating assignments based on the assumption a student’s break was positive.
Taking Notes from Santa
Discreetly pack items a student may need over break, like snacks, clothes, or shelf-stable meals and offer to deliver these home to families in need.
Being a Comforting Presence to Assist Students
Reassure students who struggle with time concepts that their days away from school will be short. Use a calendar, or send one home, so students can properly visualize (or track) their time away from the classroom.
Send a list of community resources home to parents, including addresses of food banks, shelters, warming centers, or facilities that provide social support. Confirm transportation accessibility for families if possible.
Provide school activities over the break if possible, like open gymnasiums, read alouds, or movie nights. Help to arrange transportation for students through a carpool with other nearby families if needed.
Check-In with Families
Another method of assisting students is to phone or email families that you suspect might be in need prior to leaving for break. Inquire about needs or simply do a wellness check to let families know you care.
Supporting your Community
Set up a school-wide food drive in an effort to assist local food banks or charities with proper supplies. Work alongside community organization to ensure your students feel specifically supported over the break away from school.
Providing Emergency Contacts
Identify a safe person(s) in the school the student can either contact directly for assistance over the break, or parents can contact should there be a need or emergency. This can be a principal, administrator, teacher, school counselor, or social worker.
If you or your school continues to search for mental health providers, Lighthouse Therapy can help. Simply email us to start a conversation. We have social workers, school counselors, and psychologists who’d love to join your team.