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Lee County Schools look to tutoring, feeding children in need

Reporter: Nicole Lauren Writer: Joey Pellegrino

Lee County is considering a tutoring program directly targeting homeless children.

750 students enrolled in the Lee County School District are homeless. Thanks to a new grant, all of those students will have access to one-on-one assistance.

To be considered homeless, a child must lack a regular, fixed or adequate nighttime residence. That could mean a shelter, motel, car or even the street. The District already has a team in place working with their homeless students, called Project Access. The group helps students and parents with school enrollment, afterschool activities and providing things like backpacks and school supplies.

Project Access will be the ones to get students involved in this new program. The tutoring sessions can be one-on-one or in group settings, and they will take place at transition shelters and other locations across the county.

Depending on where you are in Southwest Florida, between 20% and 25% of children face food insecurities. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is now working to get food to as many of those kids as possible.

Summer months are always the most difficult, because many students rely on the meals they get in school. When school isn’t in session, those meals might not be as consistent. That’s why Harry Chapin says these types of partnerships are so important. Its helping kits keep people fed year-round.

Many people have benefitted from programs like this already.

“One of my favorite ones involves a little boy… his mom is a schoolteacher, actually, dad is a carpenter,” said Richard Laber, president of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “His little sister was born, and when she was born she had significant health issues that meant that mom needed to stay home. Wasn’t able to work. That obviously made their budget no more… they started coming and picking up food kits from us; that made all the difference.”