November is National Homeless Youth Awareness month. There are more children in Wake County than some might ever suspect are identified as homeless. These children follow the federal definition of homelessness as youth lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence due to lack of a primary residence. These are children that come to school. They come to all of our schools in Wake County. We have a team that surrounds our children and families in these moments in their lives. And I am so thankful for the resources that we can provide. I always wish for more. I am also grateful to live in a community that values community support as well that we can connect our families to.

I appreciate that each November, there is an organized opportunity to educate the community on this social issue. When we talk about this issue at school, what I need to remind myself and our team is the importance of the work we do as teachers. Providing a welcoming home during the day to all of our students is key. We want every child to have a full belly to start their day. We encourage our children to eat their vegetables at lunch. I have been known to  ask if they have finished their milk before they throw their tray away. We will look for a notebook, pencil, coat or extra gloves. Many teachers and staff offer those little comforts of home to quietly put into backpacks for our children in need. And at the end of the day, especially on cold days like today, I fuss at each child as they get on the bus to put their coats on before they walk home from the bus stop.

The important key to our work as well is to teach. I want every child to be provided with access to learning. I want every child to be given the opportunity to learn from our incredible teachers. No matter all the tools we give our children, the education that we can provide will carry them farther.

This month as we give thanks as well, I want to express to the community of Joyner my thanks for helping us to take care of all children. I am grateful to the committed groups that give so much in so many ways. Thank you to the Joyner family who help create a home during the day for all children no matter what home looks like overnight.