With over 2 million homeless children in the United States, childhood poverty continues to be a focal point of FOCUS’ national programs. With the blessings that many of us have inherited from our youth, there is little question that children living without the proper equipment to receive an education need to be provided the resources, in order to break the cycle of poverty we see in many American communities.
Last week, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s Ionian Village held their annual summer camp reunion in Orlando, Florida and chose to include an aspect of service in the schedule, participating in the FOCUS Backpack Program. Officially launched in 2014, this program engages our volunteers throughout the United States by asking churches and groups to fill brand-new backpacks that are provided by us with school supplies. Through FOCUS partnerships, these backpacks are then donated to local children who are unable to afford these things on their own.
Campers from the Ionian Village program took time to learn about child homelessness in the Orlando area, and then filled 500 backpacks with school supplies. The backpacks were donated to the Homeless Education Department of the Orange County Public Schools, which serves the greater area of Orlando, Florida. This department works with homeless children in their district to provide them with the educational, social, and physical resources they need to perform academically, while often living in traumatic circumstances.
According to an article published in the Orlando Sentinel in March, 2015, “Nearly one-fifth of all homeless public-school students across the state now live in Orange, Osceola or Seminole counties…With only a tenth of the state’s total population, the tri-county area identified more than 13,700 homeless students last year — including families doubled up with relatives, living in motels, staying in shelters, sleeping in cars and camping in the woods.”
We thank all of our partners as we to work together to combat the ever-flowing tide of childhood poverty in our nation.
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We are proud to be the 2016 charitable partner of Renovation Angel!
Renovation Angel is a 501(c)3 non-profit which states their charitable mission as:
a) Creating Jobs – The white-glove removal, transportation, and resale of these items creates numerous construction, logistics, and retail jobs as these items are prepared for re-purposing.
b) Protecting the Earth – Recycling luxury kitchens, bath fixtures, home furnishings, and architectural elements diverts millions of pounds from landfills.
c) Supporting high quality non-profit outreach programs – Proceeds earned from selling recycled luxury creates support for innovative and life-changing outreach programs in the areas of: at-risk youth, addiction recovery, job creation, and social entrepreneurship.
With grateful hearts, we ask you for your prayers and support for the YES ministry. We hope to host at least 25 trips, and to double the number of students we are able to train up as service leaders. With your help, we will be able to provide scholarships for youth that are not able to afford the YES weekend trip registration fee of $150, and grow our new College Day and Family Day programs. Your gifts will also make it possible for us to meet the needs of the people we serve all over North America. The greatest gift you can give the YES Program is to spread the word about this vital ministry.
This past Thursday evening, FOCUS Pittsburgh hosted “The Light on the Hill celebration” at the Heinz History Center in downtown Pittsburgh. It was a wonderful night and there was an amazing turn out of support. One of the biggest moments of the night was receiving a $20,000 donation from Renovation Angel. FOCUS North America is honored to be Renovation Angel’s 2016 charitable partner!
FOCUS North America to Serve 16,000 Meals to At-Risk Children in Phoenix
June 18, 2015
In Phoenix, Arizona, a city with a rapidly increasing child hunger problem, FOCUS North America has launched a program that will provide more than 16,000 free meals to underserved children.
“Feeding hungry children and their families is a core component of FOCUS’ programs and this new initiative in Phoenix will allow us to help children during the summer months, when they do not have access to free or reduced price meals through school,” said FOCUS North America Executive Director Nicholas Chakos.
Children need healthy food all year long. During the school year, 21 million children receive free and reduced-price meals through National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. However, when school lets out, only 3.8 million participate in summer feeding programs, leaving millions of children at risk for hunger. Hunger is one of the most severe roadblocks to the learning process. Lack of nutrition during the summer months sets a cycle for poor performance once school begins again and makes children more prone to illness and other health issues. FOCUS’ summer feeding program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children get the nutritious meals they need.
Working with The Sodexo Foundation and local branches of the YMCA, FOCUS will provide breakfast and lunch to approximately 200 children every weekday during the summer. Meals are prepared by Sodexo at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and distributed to children who participate in Phoenix-area YMCA day camp programs. Approximately 16,750 meals will be served through August 7. This Phoenix initiative with FOCUS is part of Sodexo’s Feeding our Future initiative, a national program that has provided more than 4 million free meals to children in 24 cities across America.
Facilitating the health and education of children, through programs such as summer meal service, is a key activity of FOCUS. For the past six years, FOCUS has helped more than 252,000 disadvantaged children with educational support services while assisting their parents through vocational training, job placement and housing services. Each summer, in addition to summer meal service, FOCUS helps families in need get ready to go back-to-school by providing children with medical and dental checkups, school supplies, new backpacks and new athletic shoes so that they can attend school ready to learn and succeed.