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Shawn Kennedy

a stu d ent at Downtown’s M onarch Sch o o l, wh ich provides education an d refuge for 150 homele ss and at- risk children.

STREET SMARTS San Diego school educates and shelters homeless youth By Wendy Kitts and Allie Daugherty Downtown’s Monarch School offers more than just a safe and nurturing educational environment for 150 homeless and at-risk children, many of whom live in cars, shelters or on the streets. Every morning, the kids get breakfast. Every Monday and Friday, they and their families are given free dinner. A support staff provides social and psychological support, and there are many afterschool programs, which senior director Brian Daly says is key. “Homeless shelters close at six in the morning and they don’t reopen until 6 p.m.,” he says, explaining that it’s the time between when schools let out and shelters open that homeless kids face the greatest dangers. “Where does a second-grader go that’s safe? Where does a 10th-grader go where they might not get involved with the more risky elements of the community?” Monarch’s afterschool programs provide a safe haven for kids during those critical hours. One Monarch student, Cindy, came to the school in August 2010 after having lived in a Chevy Suburban with her parents and five brothers and sisters. “They’d been bounced around from one shelter to another – the typical depressing story most of our students come in with,” Daly says. However, thanks to Monarch, its staff and supporters, that otherwise sad story has a happy ending: Cindy and her peers just became one of the school’s largest graduating classes, the first ever to have its entire population continue to college. A recent $5 million donation by Nat and Flora Bosa (Nat founded San Diego-based Bosa Development Corp.), will help fund Monarch’s move to a new, larger facility just south of Petco Park. The new building, groundbreaking for which took place in February, will accommodate an additional 200 students. Helping forge brighter futures for these young San Diegans in need requires ongoing support from the community. Here are a few ways to get involved:

“They’d been bounced around from one shelter to another – the typical depressing story most of our students come in with”

Tutor students Help serve breakfast or lunch Sponsor a dinner for kids and their families Chaperone or drive students to field trips Facilitate music, phys. ed. or art classes for afterschool programs Buy a library book on Monarch’s wish list Donate to clothing and supply drives Give gift cards for grocery, clothing or school supply stores 619.658.8242, monarchschools.org

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