LAUSD Homeless Students - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

LAUSD Homeless Students

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Delvin Newburn is like any fifth grader, he's excited to spend the day at Universal Studios.

Newburn says, "I want to go on a lot of rides and have fun."

But not every fifth grader has to go through what he's been through with his family.

"We just moved from one place to another, just like a trip, we're just moving to different places."

He moves around a lot because his family is homeless. Right now they're living in a place with a number of other families as well.

Roughly fourteen thousand children are just like Delvin in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  They're homeless students who live in apartments with friends, in motels or garages with their families, or who live on the street.

It takes its toll on these students, both academically and socially.

Tracy Peoples works in the homeless education program at the LAUSD, she says, "There's not a lot of stability which certainly impedes their academic success because they're having to move a lot."

Last school year, there were several thousand more homeless students in the district, but administrators say it's hard to get an accurate count since families and kids do not want to identify themselves as homeless.   There's also a shortage of homeless assistance counselors at the LAUSD but each student is assigned a designated helper to turn to.

Around two hundred fifty homeless students participated in a special event held at Universal Studios, Thursday, where they received free clothes, shoes, and school supplies, plus spent the day at the park.

Student Samaiala Von Mitchell says, "I have toothbrush, toothpaste, everything I need when I get up in the morning."

"I'm kind of nervous," she says, because "I've never been here before."

For many of the kids, they've never been to a theme park but smiles lit up their faces as they saw attractions and their favorite characters, like Sponge Bob and Scooby Doo.

The hope for these kids is to find a stable place to call home.

Newburn says, "I don't know when soon but soon we're going to have a nice quiet place to live. "

Organizers say the only way events like this are made possible is through donations, for anyone who wants to give go to www.operationschoolbell.org.

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