By Phil Katz
Upon retiring, I knew that I wanted to give back. I knew I wanted to do something that fit my strengths and the Digital Program Coordinator VISTA position at Chicago HOPES for Kids just made sense. What I was not expecting, however, was that I would start my time at Chicago HOPES for Kids during the midst of e-learning. Immediately, I knew our students would face barriers with access to technology and overall support. However, this article is not about the digital divide (check out our instagram if you’re interested in learning more about that!), but instead, a call to action for those that have the opportunity to increase awareness around a student population that is oftentimes overlooked.
Coming from the business world, I didn’t realize just how many students are living in homeless shelters - let alone experiencing homelessness overall. As I talked about my experience with my network, I quickly realized that those around me were largely unaware of this student experience as well. This got me thinking about how we, as people who are deeply invested in education, can spread the word so that students experiencing homelessness can have access to an education that is equitable and thereby work to close the opportunity gap for our students.
Sometimes the hardest part about having these conversations is figuring out where to start. We gathered some tips to make it easier for you to begin having these conversations with people in your network, such as friends, family, or colleagues.