AKRON, Ohio – Hundreds of Akron Public School children will soon have a new backpack filled with school supplies, snacks and toiletries.
“It’s very important,” Beverly Manthe said.
Important because more than 1,200 school-aged children in Akron are homeless. Manthe’s 11-year-old daughter was one of them until the child recently moved in with her father.
Manthe said she was moving from house to house, staying with cousins, as well as godparents, and her daughter’s grades suffered because of it.
“I feel she wasn’t comfortable, listening to everybody else’s rules,” Manthe said.
Research indicates that children who are living in poverty, especially homeless children, are usually two to three years behind their peers who have stable environments.
“They are many more times likely to be behind than their non-homeless counterparts,” said Debra Manteghi, program manager at Project RISE . “They’re more likely to have mental health problems. They’re more likely to be ill.”
Project RISE supports homeless students in Akron in an effort to keep them focused on education. They received 960 backpacks from Feed the Children Wednesday to distribute to the students throughout the school year.
Manteghi said other ways to make a difference in the children’s lives include volunteering at homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
For more information about Project Rise log onto: http://www.akronschools.com/programs/detail.dot?pgmId=51753
“It’s not the adults who suffer,” Manthe said. “It’s the children.”