89.1 WEMU

MLive And Washtenaw Intermediate School District Are Helping Homeless Students

Aug 12, 2016

Lauren Slagter from The Ann Arbor News holds backpacks that were donated.
Credit Jorge Avellan

The Washtenaw Intermediate School District along with MLive and The Ann Arbor News are hosting a school supply drive for homeless students in the county. 


Lauren Slagter is typing on her laptop in the newsroom at MLive's downtown Ann Arbor office.  She's an education reporter who is helping get the word out about the school supply drive.  

"Backpacks, color pencils, notebook paper, flash drives, calculators, other school supplies along those lines."

Those are some of the supplies that many WISD students need.  Last year, the district identified 1,200 homeless students.  

Sarah Hierman is a grants and development manager for the district, she says:

"They may be living in what we call a double-up situation.  Meaning that they could be sleeping on somebody's floor, a friend of the family or a relative."

Some of those students may be homeless either because they lost their home in a fire, their family was evicted, or because of a domestic violence situation, just to name a few reasons.

Sarah says not having the supplies can affect them academically.

"When you can't participate actively in your education, it does impact them and in addition to the ability to participate in the classroom.  There is also a stigma and social and emotional component to that as well.  You are not going to necessarily feel as confident going to a classroom knowing that you don't have the same resources that other students do."

Back at the MLive offices, residents have already dropped off backpacks and other supplies in the lobby.  For Lauren, who regularly covers K-12, it means something.

"It feels good, I would give the credit to the people in the community who are bringing in these items and we are just kind of helping facilitate that, make more people aware of the needs that are out there."

The supply drive runs thought August 19th.  For more information, click here.

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— Jorge Avellan is the Ann Arbor beat reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu