By Beth Malik, Associate Director of the Law Project
With Chicago’s first day of school less than two weeks away, volunteers from the legal department of JPMorgan Chase teamed up with our Law Project to distribute back-to-school outreach materials to homeless and at-risk families in the North Lawndale neighborhood.
Ten Chase volunteers and eight CCH staff distributed 3,500 door hangers, brochures and posters, all encouraging students who lack stable housing to enroll in and attend school.
In addition to going door-to-door throughout North Lawndale on August 25, volunteers visited 41 community venues, including schools, stores and shops, churches, day care centers, libraries and health centers. Materials distributed were in both English and Spanish.
As volunteers canvased the streets, many had the opportunity to speak to residents, sharing information about the rights of homeless students.
“I participated today because I wanted to give back and to help the community,” said Cathy Byrne, an executive administrative assistant at Chase. “I believe strongly in the importance of education and that every child deserves to be educated. I am very thankful for the positive response of the community to our outreach efforts today.”
In the 2014-2015 school year, Chicago Public Schools identified 20,205 homeless students. Many unstably housed students and families are unaware they have the right under state and federal law to remain in their school of origin and have school fees waived.
The first day of school for of CPS is Tuesday, Sept. 8. To encourage attendance on the first day, the CTA will give free rides to school for all CPS students. Students and adults accompanying them can ride for free from 5:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 8.