How a summer field trip can change a homeless child’s life

Directly support a summer field trip for a homeless child here

In the US, 564,708 people experience homelessness on a given night, and 36% are families with children. Living without a stable home is a tumultuous experience for adults, so you can imagine how that can impact a child. When a family goes through a period of homelessness it’s typically very short-term, say for a few weeks to a few months. It’s during these times of hardship that finding stability and normalcy for children can make all the difference.

The Coalition on Temporary Homelessness (COTS) knows just how important this is for the families. Serving the Detroit community, COTS provides shelter from emergency, to transitional, to supportive housing. They were the first emergency shelter to serve only families in the city of Detroit, an incredibly important resource as the number of local homeless families is rising. 41% of Detroit residents live below the poverty line and of the 34,642 reported homeless individuals, over half are mothers and children.  

To combat family homelessness with the intention of breaking the cycle of poverty, it’s critical to direct resources to the next generation. This is why COTS has a unique supportive system to focus on developing a family’s self-sufficiency with multi-generational impact. Specifically, giving these children the opportunity to explore art, access to tutoring, family bonding activities, even a ‘teens room’ with clothing and accessories. These programs help maintain a sense of normalcy but last summer COTS realized they were missing something without a tie to the local community. So they tried something simple but powerful - they took the kids on a field trip.

“Field trips are chances to explore, have fun, learn and express independence and responsibility. Our children experience insurmountable amounts of stress and anxiety and to give them the chance to forget all of that and just ‘be a child’ is a gift. This is also a gift for our parents, who understand they wouldn’t be able to provide these experiences without COTS help.” - Coalition on Temporary Shelter, Detroit

Last summer COTS hosted over 100 children in their shelters. During that time they took groups to the Detroit Zoo, baseball games, and even to a three-day science camp. The opportunity to have space for creativity and time outdoors may seem like an accessible thing for any child, but for families in extreme poverty this is a luxury.

“We had one boy that stayed with us who was 16 years old. When his family found housing in September after living in at COTS for 5 months, he wrote a letter to our activities coordinator saying that it was the best summer he’s ever had. These types of experiences are truly priceless for our children. You can imagine how tough that boy’s life has been, if the best summer of his life was when he was staying at a shelter.” - Coalition on Temporary Shelter, Detroit

By creating a different shelter experience for children going through this kind of transition, COTS hopes to instill confidence, a sense of self-sufficiency, and new skills for their next stage of life. From what they’ve seen from their first summer supporting these programs, the impact is already in motion.

COTS is fundraising right now for this summer’s field trip program and they are so close to their $2,000 goal! From bowling to roller skating to a week of summer science camp, your donation will give these kids a summer they won’t forget. Give now, big or small, it all makes a difference.

“These activities would mean so much to our kids and would truly make an impact on their lives. There really are very few other homeless shelters in the country that offers such extensive services and recreational activities to their guests. A donation to COTS field trip fund would allow us to continue to offer these fun and educational services for our families. We thank any and every donor!”

By creating a different shelter experience for children going through this kind of transition, COTS hopes to instill confidence, a sense of self-sufficiency, and new skills for their next stage of life. From what they’ve seen from their first summer supporting these programs, the impact is already in motion.

 

COTS is fundraising right now for this summer’s field trip program and they are so close to their $2,000 goal! From bowling to roller skating to a week of summer science camp, your donation will give these kids a summer they won’t forget. Give now, big or small, it all makes a difference.

“These activities would mean so much to our kids and would truly make an impact on their lives. There really are very few other homeless shelters in the country that offers such extensive services and recreational activities to their guests. A donation to COTS field trip fund would allow us to continue to offer these fun and educational services for our families. We thank any and every donor!”