Wrap-Around Support Enables Texas Teen to Pursue Academic GoalsJulie Smith
Just outside of Dallas, Texas lives an 18-year-old high school senior named Hope*. This bright, driven, and motivated young lady was merely months away from graduating and looking forward to starting college in the fall when a dire situation threatened to change everything.
Hope has dreams of embracing a life much different than the one she experienced as a child. Her mom was constantly in and out of jail and Hope frequently witnessed physical abuse and substance use. Once she got to high school, Hope bounced around to different schools but managed to continue her education while also working full-time with the help of a school guidance counselor. When her mom landed back in jail, Hope’s last option was to move in with her new stepfather whom she barely knew. With no family, home, or real support system to speak of, Hope decided to call Derrick Battie, Community Liaison with the Dallas Independent School District (ISD).
“Hope shared that she was trying to graduate but was two days away from being back on the streets,” said Battie. “She asked if I could help her get a car so that when things get bad, she could always sleep in it.”
Eager to find a better option for this young lady, Battie set out to find resources for Hope. He worked closely with Raymond Dukes, CarePortal Regional Manager for the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The Dallas ISD is the only school district in the state partnered with CarePortal. Caseworkers in all of the district’s schools are using the online platform to share urgent needs.
A request was entered into CarePortal, and within 24 hours, Harvest Family Life Ministries, Freedom Church, and Chase Oaks Church responded and connected Hope with wrap-around support including housing, food services, counseling and transition support.
“For a kid on the streets or sofa surfing, it doesn’t take much to change their life,” says Battie. “Hope slept in some very bad places way too often. Now, she has an opportunity to win, no matter what. She is so happy and full of new energy. The weight of the obstacles impeding her goals to graduate high school and go to college has been lifted. The impact of a great night’s sleep and a good hot meal is unmeasurable.”
Hope was so grateful for the support she received that she wrote a letter to the churches that offered her help. A family from one of the local churches also opened their home to Hope and committed to being a forever family for her! Without the district’s partnership with CarePortal, Hope’s needs would never have been known, and she could have dropped out of school and ended up homeless. Instead, Hope is her way to a better opportunity and a better future.
*Name has been changed