Battle Ground Public Schools (BGPS) has received a $25,000 grant from the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for the development of a volunteer program that will help teach resilience skills to district students faced with housing instability.
According to the National Center for Homeless Education, a student who is considered homeless (lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence) and unaccompanied (not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian) can be identified as an unaccompanied homeless youth under the McKinney-Vento Act. These are the students this program seeks to support by providing individualized, one-on-one resilience coaching from qualified volunteers.
The resilience coaching program is a joint effort between BGPS’ Family and Community Resource Center (FCRC) and Connect Battle Ground (Connect BG), a local nonprofit that will help identify and train resilience coaches to work with the district’s unaccompanied youth.
“This program will help provide a positive trajectory for these students,” said Lydia Sanders, the district’s family resource services coordinator. “Resilience coaches will be powerful advocates for instilling hope and confidence in youth as well as assisting students with reaching specific goals they have for their lives. This will go a long way towards helping them become happy, healthy, independent adults.”
“Building a system guided by resilience coaches will help students navigate their growth as they build confidence, said Curtis Miller, executive director of Connect BG. “Having a network of volunteer coaches who speak a common language and provide these kids with structure and support will be highly effective in helping them to establish life plans and achieve their long-term goals.”
The program is seeking volunteer resilience coaches to meet with an unaccompanied student about once per week. Volunteers will receive training before being assigned to and meeting with a student. Ongoing training will also be provided. Sanders and Miller say that coaches should be prepared to volunteer about 10-12 hours per month for training, and meeting and communicating with a student.
“Volunteering to be a resilience coach is probably the most effective, hands-on way to have a positive impact in our local community” Sanders said. “Over and over again, I’ve witnessed the transformative effect that just one person can have in helping a struggling student simply by being a positive role model and assisting them with organizational and life skills goals.”
If you’re interested in becoming a resilience coach for an unaccompanied homeless youth, please contact ConnectBG at (360)399-6445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The BGPS Family and Community Resource Center can be reached at (360) 885-5434.