HEALTH AND WELLNESS
The mission of Positive Tomorrows is to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty one family at a time, by providing education and family support for homeless and at risk children and their families. In order to meet out mission we have a two-pronged approach: education and family support.
To meet our mission in education, we operate a privately funded school for children kindergarten through fifth grade whose lives have been impacted by the trauma of homelessness and poverty. The children we serve are usually at least one grade level below their peers and many are two or more years behind. They do not have the tools to compete in a regular public school and often loose interest in school and fall through the cracks at a young age. Positive Tomorrows’ staff assesses each student academically and socially and begins an individual course of instruction at the level at which the child currently functions.
The family support component of our program works with the entire family. We offer self improvement and motivational workshops for parents, literacy assessment and reading tutoring for parents, basic skills instruction, as well as case management where case managers individually work with parents to meet the goals they have set at enrollment. We offer a clothing room where families can “shop” (no charge), hygiene items at each clothing room visit, small appliances and household items when a family finds housing after a stay in the shelter.
Transportation is a major issue for most homeless and at risk families. Homeless families move frequently in order to keep a roof over their children’s heads, thus making regular school attendance difficult, if not impossible. Regular school attendance is necessary for continuous learning for a student. The transportation system is the core of Positive Tomorrows’ operation. If a family will let us know by 7:30 in the morning if they have moved during the night and where the children need to be picked up for school, we will revise our bus route to accommodate that need. It is not uncommon for our bus route to be different every day of the week in order to assure every student can be present for instruction as often possible.
Our request to Impact Oklahoma is for funding to update our transportation system. Our bus and two 15-passenger vans each have over 100,000 miles and are beginning to be costly to keep in good repair. New vehicles will enable us to continue to serve the most vulnerable children in our community with transportation to and from school and on field trips and special activities. With the rising cost of gasoline, we are investigating the benefits of natural gas vehicles and other environmentally sound transportation alternatives. We are working currently with Chesapeake Energy to explore the cost efficiency of CNG vehicles like those in Chesapeake’s fleet. As of this writing, we have not made a decision on which vehicle to purchase, but we are looking at all the economics of that decision.
You will make a huge impact on the community and the lives of struggling students by funding our request. Homelessness is cyclical and until we get serious about breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty, it will continue to plague our nation. This is your opportunity to touch lives and make a difference in the future of children and our community. You can “Impact Oklahoma” today and for many years to come by helping us secure vehicles that are handicapped accessible and economically and environmentally sound.
To learn more, visit Positive Tomorrows at www.positivetomorrows.com.