The Neediest Kids: A Spotlight on Alexandria City Public Schools

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Located in Alexandria, Virginia, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) has been a proud partner of the Neediest Kids, a program of The National Center for Children and Families (NCCF), for more than 15 years.

Thanks to the Neediest Kids’ continued support, ACPS is able to assist students who lack many of the basic necessities such as food, clothing items, shoes, eye exams and eyeglasses.  ACPS currently has 15,493 students enrolled in the 2017-2018 school year, and almost 60%, or 9,300, students qualify for Free and Reduced Meals (FARM), a primary indicator of poverty. This number includes students experiencing homelessness who face major challenges every day.

Story 1 – A school social worker wrote:  “We are so grateful to The Neediest Kids, which has helped our community in so many ways over the years. The support goes so far beyond a uniform and a prescription, but it also provides families with hope, confidence and self-sufficiency. The following is an exchange shared by a teacher about a conversation she had with a student that the Neediest Kids helped:

Student: Don’t I look great in my new glasses?

Teacher: Absolutely…very smart indeed!

Student: Now I can do my homework every night.

Teacher: It will really help your grade.

Student: So I can grow up to help kids just like you!”

ACPS school social workers (pictured above) act as our Neediest Kids liaisons. They work directly with students and families to address barriers to student learning and often help identify students in need. With the support of Neediest Kids, we are able to offer immediate assistance to some of our families in great need who otherwise would go without. These valuable resources assist the school social work team in ensuring that students experiencing food insecurity issues are able to get food immediately, as well as clothing items and other necessary resources.  Because of the support of this organization, we directly respond to the needs of our most vulnerable students, which allows for a more comprehensive community-based approach to providing support.

Story 2 – I received a request from a high school social worker who shared that a student who was living independently and supporting himself through afterschool and weekend employment was struggling. The social worker requested a food card for the student to ensure that he got food to eat.  Because of the support provided by Neediest Kids, we were able to provide a gift card to Safeway so the student could go shopping.

The Neediest Kids organization is vital to ACPS and our families because we have so many students and families in need.  Many of our students would suffer without these valuable resources. Thanks to Neediest Kids we provide support to our students and reinforce the message that they are important to us and that their needs matter.  Neediest Kids helps ACPS meet our mission of “Every Student Succeeds: Educating lifelong learners and inspiring civic responsibility.

Story 3 – A school social worker wrote:  “Two elementary school students were exposed to family separation, domestic violence, and homelessness.  Both students had lost or broken their glasses in the tumultuous transitions.  Neediest Kids funds allowed both students to have eye exams and get new glasses. They continue to do well despite their difficult home life.”

AUTHOR

Arnecia Moody

Ms. Arnecia Moody is Alexandria City Public School's Lead School Social Worker and Homeless Education Liaison.

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