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The Problem

The population of homeless youth in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) has reached a catastrophic level, with 4,000+ 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.

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Our Solution

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.

Our Services

History

Fannie Chase Harris was born on a plantation in Harris County, Georgia. She was the daughter of Jane, a slave and the master’s son. Once freed, Fannie and her adopted aunt, Susan Reece, moved to Columbus, Georgia.   After finishing at a Quaker public school, she attended Clayton Normal School, which prepared her for teaching. Harris then came to Texas and began her career as a teacher, first in Corsicana and then Dallas. She became one of the three teachers who taught in the first Dallas High School for African-American children. Fannie Chase Harris was a former slave who managed to do what seemed impossible in her time; became a teacher. Fannie C. Harris Elementary school opened in 1951.

The school closed over a decade ago and was used as a Dallas ISD administration building that closed in 2013. After sitting vacant for five years, community stakeholders identified this DISD owned facility as the future site to support unsheltered DISD high school students and other homeless youth.

The DISD Board of Trustees in the fall of 2017 unanimously voted to use this building for this purpose and voted to rename it as the Fannie C. Harris Youth Center in the fall of 2018. The Fannie C. Harris name continues her legacy of overcoming adversity and reaching one’s full potential.

Source: Dallas ISD Archives

Mission Statement

Our mission is to improve life outcomes and promote self-sufficiency by giving unsheltered high school students a safe place and offering education as a pathway out of homelessness and poverty.