The Monarch School Unhoused Youth Take Flight

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Named by its students in recognition of the transformational power of the butterfly, the Monarch School has provided thousands of San Diego youth experiencing homelessness with opportunities to grow and thrive. Monarch serves up to 300 students each day through a unique public-private partnership between the nonprofit Monarch School Project and the San Diego County Office of Education. Since 1987, this innovative K-12 school has supported students in building productive and healthy lives.

When the pandemic forced Monarch to close in March 2020, students lost much more than time in class. They lost access to mental health care, food, clothing, parent resources and more – all at a time when this essential support was more critical than ever. The lives of Monarch families often present struggles that require both tenacity and creativity to overcome, and the pandemic only serves to illuminate this reality.

“We are so appreciative of the school and staff at Monarch. They have provided us with everything we need to stay safe. We are very very thankful!” — Ms. Yang, Monarch School parent

With the help of generous supporters like San Diego Gas &Electric (SDG&E), the Monarch School can continue its academic programs as well as meet urgent needs. Monarch invested in partnerships to help house families, ensured that students could safely visit the campus for critical hygiene and food supplies, and offered transportation vouchers to enable parents and caregivers to maintain access to their jobs as essential workers. To address the digital divide, Monarch connected students with the technology they needed to engage in distance learning and access supportive interventions, such as daily online tutoring.

“Each one of us can do something to help others. For me, it is being on the board of the Monarch School. Every time you meet a Monarch student, you are immediately inspired to do everything that you can to help its students dream big about their future with the guidance and encouragement of the teachers, staff, donors, and a very dedicated community of supporters.” — Caroline Winn, San Diego Gas & Electric CEO

To date during the pandemic, Monarch has hosted more than 35 days of socially distanced on-campus distributions to provide resources and connect with students, their families and alumni. Each family has connected with a dedicated caseworker at Monarch to help them access community resources, problem solve, and stay informed with up-to-date health and education information.
Community support plays an essential role in enabling Monarch to serve all the needs of its students and families experiencing homelessness.

“Even when circumstances are daunting, our Monarch community remains hopeful and optimistic about our future because we know we are not alone. The support we have received from SDG&E and other partners ensures our students have the resources they need to keep learning and growing.” — Afira DeVries, Monarch School President and CEO

To learn more about Monarch School or to lend your support, we invite you to visit www.monarchschools.org.

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