CHARLOTTE — Thanks to public support, a Charlotte agency is making significant strides in helping homeless children in Mecklenburg County.

Numbers just released by ‘A Child’s Place’ show their programs reached more than half of the 4,700 homeless students enrolled in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools last year.

“They love the program here and they want to be here,” said Terance Staton, program manager for the agency’s summer camp ‘My Place.’

This year, the camp was able to accept more rising first through eighth-graders. The program brushes up on coursework from the previous school year and offers various activities and field trips. Counselors and social workers also spend time with the children, discussing ways to handle their emotions.

“Some of our kids may be staying at a hotel, some of our kids may be staying at a shelter but they never know, day to day, what the next day will bring,”said Staton.

While ‘A Child’s Place’ reached a record number of students last school year, directors say they still have a lot of ground to cover.

“That number doesn’t include non-school aged children. It also doesn’t include the children that have gotten very good at hiding their homelessness so we feel there may be as many as 6,000 homeless children in Mecklenburg County,” said Randy Boone, Director of Development.

Data shows their programs are working. Last school year, 97-percent of the agency’s clients were promoted to the next grade level, compared to 64-percent nationally.

From News 14, July 12, 2013

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