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Edmonds SD, community partners help homeless teens succeed in school

Students who experience homelessness are 87 percent more likely than their peers with homes to drop out of school. Because of this, the Edmonds School District works hard to help students succeed. (KOMO News)

EDMONDS, Wash. -- Students who experience homelessness are 87 percent more likely than their peers with homes to drop out of school. Because of this, the Edmonds School District works hard to help students succeed.

This year, Sally Guzman, a family and community engagement coordinator with the district, says the state is requiring them to send home a housing form that asks how the family is living.

Do they rent, or own their home? Are they living on their own, couch surfing, in a shelter, or in a car?

Not all families fill out the form, so the district’s family advocates identify those families who might need a little extra help.

“We really try to make sure that our schools are a safe place where families can come to us in a struggle and we can find support they need,” said Guzman.

Guzman said they do get federal money, but they really rely on their community partners.

Washington Teens in Transition is one of those partners. Just this week, volunteers filled 100 backpacks with school supplies, for any student who goes to school without supplies.

“I don't think it's any secret that this is an issue for a lot of families and since housing prices have gone up, I think more families are struggling every day with different choices,” said Kelsey Foster, a volunteer with Washington Teens in Transition.

While the district works to fulfill the emotional needs, community groups like Washington Teens in Transition fill the physical one.

Logistically it's not easy. The district operates 13 buses that make sure the kids have a ride to and from school every day.

Kim Gorney, who founded Washington Teens in Transition, said some of those kids ride the bus for two hours or more, so they give every one of them a sack of snacks for the ride home.

"In this one we have a meat stick cheese and crackers and fruit snacks," said Gorney.

They rely on donations from the community and are holding a fundraiser, Saturday, November 10 in Lynnwood.

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