District partners with Family Promise to aid, educate on homelessness

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The Lima City Schools and Family Promise of Lima-Allen County recently kicked off a new project to raise awareness and money for families dealing with homelessness.

Houses for Change is a National Family Promise homelessness awareness campaign designed to teach students about homelessness and give them an easy way to help struggling families.

Students throughout the Lima City Schools will decorate their own house-shaped collection boxes to fill with change. They will collect during the month of December and then donate the money to Family Promise. About 500 students will participate.

Representatives from Family Promise will be in the schools talking to students about homelessness, hunger and poverty.

“This is a wonderful project for our students to get involved with,” Superintendent Jill Ackerman said. “Not only will they learn about an important issue facing our community, they will see that they also have the capacity to help.”

The school district has expanded on the Houses for Change program to bring a broader awareness of homelessness to the community. Lima Senior construction trades students built a larger house to be displayed around the community. Lima Senior art students then painted the house based on their interpretations of poverty and homelessness.

“Along with assisting families to find housing and employment, Family Promise also strives to educate the community about people who are homeless,” said Family Promise Executive Director Chuck Wolfe. “We want the community to understand families’ conditions, the causes of homelessness and solutions for homelessness. Houses for Change is part of our overall community education plan.”

Family Promise is the only family homeless shelter in Allen County. Families have access to a day center and stay overnight at area churches. Volunteers from the participating churches provide meals and serve as hosts at the churches. Family Promise will soon serve its 100th family.

The day center provides a place for families to shower, do laundry and work on finding employment, housing and other needs. Family Promise staff helps to connect families with other social service agencies.

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