The population of homeless youth in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) has reached a catastrophic level, with 3,500+ homeless students. Several Dallas-based organizations offer programs to address the separate needs that sprout from homelessness. But these needs are anything but separate.
Of the homeless youth population, After8toEducate is tackling the most vulnerable population of unsheltered high school students. Under the federal definition, “homeless” means youth who lack fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, ranging from living in a motel or on a friend’s couch. This federal definition includes “unsheltered” which means living in a car, park, campground, street, or abandoned building.
Overwhelming research shows that unsheltered students are at a greater risk of falling behind academically, and in turn more likely to drop out of school. In addition to being susceptible to educational setbacks, they often face a myriad of social and health problems such as drug and alcohol addiction, unemployment, teen pregnancy, depression, and involvement with the criminal justice system.
When unsheltered students age out of the foster care system or opt out of the child welfare system altogether, they are left with limited public and private resources. These remaining services are often only available for restricted hours of the day, leaving many without a place to go after 8:00pm.
Founded by Dallas entrepreneur Jorge Baldor, After8toEducate (“After8”) is the first all-encompassing program to support unsheltered high school youth in Dallas. After8 brings together community resources to reduce the number of unsheltered young adults and foster self-sufficiency.
After8toEducate offers an umbrella solution to allow unsheltered high school students to develop academically, emotionally, and socially to ultimately live healthy and productive lives. In collaboration with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) and local organizations, After8 provides a three-pillar program that addresses the unsheltered youth that are currently enrolled in DISD high schools and support immediate needs of other homeless young adults age 14-21.
After8toEducate recognizes each unsheltered youth as a whole individual with the potential to overcome all aspects of homelessness, not just one. Fannie C. Harris Youth Center will house both a Drop-In Center and Residential Services.
The Drop-In Center will begin serving homeless youth ages 14-21 with immediate support services. These services will include access to showers, laundry facilities, meals, and clothing. The Drop-In Center will also offer social services reconnecting youth to education and providing housing stabilization support, employment resources and access to healthcare.
The residential services component will serve unsheltered Dallas ISD high school students with emergency shelter and transitional living services. The Drop-In Center will operate by Spring 2019 and Residential Services renovations will be complete by late Spring 2019. Both the Drop-In Center and Residential Services will operate 24/7 by Summer 2019.
35 units available for emergency shelter service and transitional living program services
Academic, emotional, and social support services such as tutoring, job training, counseling, and family reunification resources
Around the clock services to meet immediate needs with meals, showers, clothing, laundry and other support services
Dallas Independent School District (DISD) is the second largest urban school district in Texas with 227 schools and serving approximately 160,000 students. After8toEducate is working in partnership with the DISD to use Fannie C. Harris Elementary School as the After8 facility.
Promise House has been the leader in the city combatting youth homelessness for 30+ years. It provides services for run-away and at-risk youth through transitional living and emergency shelter programs and other support services. Promise House will manage the shelter services of the After8 facility.
CitySquare, founded in 1988, consists of 17 social service programs that provide more than 50,000 human touches in Dallas, Waco, and Denver, Colorado. Its Transition Resource Action Center (TRAC) program currently serves youth age 16-24 years old who are transitioning from substitute care to self-sufficiency. CitySquare will manage operations for the 24/7 drop-in center.
Social Venture Partners Dallas (SVP Dallas) is a community of engaged philanthropists committed to strengthening the city through collective application of resources and expertise. For more than 20 years, SVP Dallas has been using a cross-sector approach to support social impact organizations through capacity building projects and equipping its partners to tackle the greatest social challenges. SVP Dallas works in partnership with After8toEducate to manage the collaboration of community partners and to oversee the ongoing evaluation of After8toEducate service providers to ensure program effectiveness.
The After8toEducate Steering Committee is made up of 40 cross-sector community leaders who will be providing input on the implementation of program services, building renovation and other core project components. The inaugural meeting took place in April 2018; the Committee will continue to meet over the next 4-6 months. Please click the button below to see a full list of the Steering Committee:
After8toEducate would not be able to operate without the generous contributions from donors or time commitment from dedicated volunteers. Every dollar and minute spent helping our cause is deeply appreciated. If you would like to learn more about how you can help as an individual or organization, or have general questions, please fill out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.