Homeless children and youth encounter many barriers to enrollment and school success. Operation G.E.M. (Growing through Enrichment and Mentoring) is a program of Communities in Schools Jacksonville created to help homeless students stay in school and prepare for life. GEM Volunteers provide academic and social services to homeless students through in-school case management and mentoring services to help them be successful and hopefully qualify for a college scholarship.
Identify and enroll 100 3rd – 9th grade homeless students
Case Management services upon entry into the program
Case Management home/shelter visits
Recruit volunteers to mentor students
Coordinate training and screening of volunteers
Facilitate training sessions
Identify and match students with screened volunteer mentors who will meet with students once a week for one hour at the student’s school.
Utilize services to help promotion rate for students.
Definition of Homelessness
Lacks a regular, fixed and adequate nighttime residence (sub standard housing)
Is sharing housing due to economic struggles (double-up)
Is living in a shelter, hotel or motel
Is living in a public place not designed for sleeping (cars, parks)
Is an unaccompanied youth
Is a child or youth awaiting foster care placement
Is a child or youth abandoned in a hospital
Is a migrant child who qualifies under any of the above