The FAMCare Blog

The Healing Power of Respect - The Children First Academy

Posted by George Ritacco on Apr 12, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Children's First Academy

There is no better way to introduce you to the heart and soul of Children First Academy than to reproduce parts of their mission statement here.

Children First Academy of Phoenix recognizes a homeless child or unaccompanied child as an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence…

  • Children First Academy must immediately enroll any homeless student, regardless of whether the student lives with the homeless parents or has been temporarily placed elsewhere.
  • Homeless children and youth will not be stigmatized or segregated on the basis of their status of homelessness.
  • Enrollment may not be denied or delayed due to the lack of any document normally required for enrollment…
  • If the student needs to obtain immunization or medical records, Children’s First Academy of Phoenix shall assist in obtaining necessary immunizations or records…
  • Children First Academy of Phoenix will provide transportation to and from school…
  • Children First Academy’s Principal will designate an appropriate staff person as liaison for homeless students…to coordinate activities and programs in the best interest of the homeless student.

100% Below the Poverty Line

One hundred percent of the 350 students enrolled in Children First Academy are at or below the poverty line, and a vast majority are homeless. The school provides stability and hope for kids amid a chaotic world of homelessness and hopelessness; many of the children live in motels and shelters.

Children First Academy recognizes that educating homeless children (grades K-9) requires more than a classroom, desk, and textbooks. The academy’s six buses travel over 450 miles a day constantly changing routes to accommodate the transitional lives of students’ families.

Food boxes, hygiene kits, clothing, school uniforms, furniture, and household items are also provided wherever needed.

“Only education can break the cycle of poverty. We must catch children born into poverty as early as we can and help them believe in their own self-worth. Teach them how to communicate with the world around them and how they can make themselves useful members of society. Give them the skills to acquire skills. Build their confidence... If we respect every one of these children, we will teach them to respect themselves. That’s the work of Children First Academy,” the Principal said.

If you are ever in Phoenix, Arizona, stop by and visit Children First Academy and witness the healing power of respect. You would never suspect that the children you see all dressed in neat navy blue and khaki school uniforms eagerly using donated computers were just bussed in from past their prime motels or overcrowded homeless shelters. You might think they were your kids or mine.

Topics: Child Welfare, Foster Care

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