NaBloPoMo ~ January 14, 2014

1 A January 2014 BlogHer

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Marge Piercy said: “A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done.” Tell us about a time when you did what couldn’t be done.


I can not say that I did something that couldn’t be done, but I did do something that others were determined not to be done.
After years of substitute teaching, I was hired into my local school system to begin a new project, building it from ground zero. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and Youth Act (MVHCY) had just been signed into law. The law stated that every school district had to have a Homeless Children and Youth Liaison. That would be me.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and Youth Act (MVHCY) went a little further, than the Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in their definition of homelessness. The MVHCY included: People who are living in a place not meant for human habitation; People who are losing their primary nighttime residence, which may include a motel or hotel or a doubled up situation; Families with children or unaccompanied youth who are unstably housed and likely to continue in that state.
I was very pleased to find that HUD has upgraded their definition of homeless, while looking up information for this post. Read more at:
I educated myself on the MVHCY by, reading the law itself, visiting the National Center for Homeless Education and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth websites for ideas, and attending Local, Regional, and National Conferences. I began putting MVHCY posters up at camp grounds, hotels/motels, laundry mats, and all of the county schools I covered. I talked at teacher’s meetings, principal’s meetings, several clubs and organizations, and the public in general. The main reaction I got was, “We don’t have homeless people in this county.” My response, “Well, allow me to educate you a little bit.” Then I would let the numbers roll off my tongue. Most of it met deaf ears, but I did my best.
I made sure every school administrator’s, counselor’s, and teacher’s had a copy of MVHCY. The MVHCY began to build against all resistance. I’m not going to go into any detail, but I soon realized the politics of the school system and the many laws they broke trying to get money out of children who didn’t have any and telling homeless youth they couldn’t enroll them because they didn’t have a parent. I often acted as liaison, for these students, to help get them enrolled. I spoke out against these transactions only to be reprimanded. Once, I even got yelled at, by an irate principal, in the hall of the school! I was just doing my job. I was there for the children and youth, not for the administrators.
My boss was very supportive. She often praised me for the job I was doing, but eventually school politics got to her too. She asked me to tone it down a bit. When I talked to the NAEHCY about the problem, they told me to follow the law and keep reminding administrators of the law.
After nine years, those that were determined my job would not be done, broke me; mentally and physically. With mounting health problems, I resigned my job.
I pray that during my nine years as MVHCY Liaison, I helped some children and youth in some way.

1 A Children Homeless

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