The Project Hope School: Feeding Young Minds
History of the School
In 1989, a schoolteacher began teaching local homeless children from the back of her car. This personal outreach program soon became an organized undertaking called Project HOPE, which stands for “Homeless Outreach Program in Education.” It is a county-run school designed to help children without permanent homes transition into the mainstream educational system.
For over twenty years, Project HOPE School has educated hundreds of homeless kids. It currently serves approximately 60 students in a fifty week a year, half-day educational program based in permanent facilities in the city of Orange. At the end of the academic day, students are transported to the Tustin Boys and Girls Club for tutoring, sports and enrichment programs.
The Mission of Project HOPE School is to provide an exceptional academic environment that empowers homeless and economically vulnerable children to achieve their fullest potential. Project HOPE is giving many homeless children hope for the very first time.
Preparing Students for Life
Project HOPE School offers instruction in small, multi-grade classrooms where students work at their own level. Current school facilities include three classrooms, a computer lab and a multi-purpose room.
Since most homeless families do not own an automobile, they depend on Project HOPE for transportation. Each morning, children are bused from motels and shelter programs in Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, and Anaheim to their school in Orange. There, three full-time teachers (along with several aides, special-needs educators, and volunteers) work one-on-one with students to:
- Prepare them to transition into mainstream schools
- Instill in them respect for themselves and their classmates
- Nurture a love for learning
- Teach them basic interpersonal skills
- Enhance their self-esteem
Teachers also organize off-site field trips and computer-based instruction to supplement in-class lessons. At the end of each day, students are transported back to their motels and shelters. Like other schools, Project HOPE issues regular progress reports, and graduates 90% of eighth graders to local high schools.