Homeless children have to defy unique odds in order to meet the standards of the classroom. The education program at Project Hope Alliance is committed to helping these students overcome the obstacles threatening their academic success. Focused on creating a positive learning experience, our programs seek to close the significant performance gaps separating homeless children from their housed peers. We hope to re-instill the value of education through improved student attendance and preparedness as well as enhanced confidence in the classroom. Throughout the last 25 years, this program has served thousands of children in the Orange County area. Our strategy is proven effective and is currently at work throughout Orange County, and in the lives of over 300 children.
Homelessness introduces children to unhealthy amounts of stress and worry. Anxiety over having something to eat or a place to sleep are among the uncertainties that can be very damaging for the developing brain. Entering the academic environment carrying the weight of such trauma clouds a child’s opportunity to learn and perform at the expected levels.
Project Hope Alliance has recognized that in order for homeless children to have educational success, they must also experience healing from past traumatic events. We have seen that giving children a place to express themselves through music and the arts provides an incredible opportunity for mending and restoring. Through our partnerships with Art4Kids, and Art & Creativity for Healing, we have established programs intended to expose students to the value and beauty of the arts.
The curative nature of artistic expression is also emphasized through art classes lead by individuals from Art & Creativity for Healing. Traumatic experiences such as childhood homelessness cause the brain to become emotionally paralyzed and chaotic. Art classes provide a safe environment to confront an experience without having to relive the trauma. Repetitive action and self-expression reactivate areas of the brain and children are able to return to a calm state of mind, free from distress.