Tutoring for Hope - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Tutoring for Hope

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RAPIDES PARISH, La. - Homeless children in Cenla aren't just living without a roof over their heads, they're living without consistent education.

Moving around from shelter to shelter can mean moving around from school to school. But one program is here to help.

Last year the Homeless Coalition counted more than 1600 Cenla students who didn't have a permanent home. And as a result of that, they're missing school a lot of the time. So now, the school board and Hope House have partnered up to provide some continuous education for these kids.

Tabitha Gray and her two sons moved into Hope House about a month ago.

Tabitha Gray, Hope House resident: "I feel safe, I feel secure, I feel secure with my children being here."

Her sons, Sean and Tyler, are 10 and 12 years old. While Gray is at her new job, the boys attend the Extended School Day program run by hope house. And in just a few short weeks, Gray says she's seen a change.

Gray: "I mean the kids really have benefited from it because they're already improving on grades, personality. They're bonding, having better relationships with the other children, and at home."

The Rapides Parish School Board partners with the Hope House to do this tutoring program.

Lynda Ellington, homeless liaison for RPSB: "One of the biggest problems that homeless students have is the continuity of education. When you're moving from friends' houses to shelters, back to friends' houses, to apartments, things like that, kids tend to miss a lot of school."

Last year's numbers show 1600 "unstably housed" children in Central Louisiana.

But that's less than the year before. And Lynda Ellington says, with programs like these, those numbers can keep dropping.

Ellington: "Their focus is on education. And it's on trying to end that cycle of generational poverty through education."

The kids may be the ones picking up a pencil, but their moms are the ones picking up some inspiration.

Sandy Ray, CEO of Hope House: "It impacts the child, but it also impacts the mom. When the child is succeeding, the mom wants to succeed that much more."

Tabitha Gray says it's been a hard year, and it feels good to be at Hope House, back on her feet. But she say it feels even better to see her sons off their feet, sitting happily behind a school desk.

Gray: "I can only say, it's relief. It's relief. Honestly whenever I come to get them at 5, they're not ready to leave."

This program has been around for five years, and is paid for by federal grant money.

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