Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues
Philanthropist brightens future for homeless grads in Stafford
Some Stafford County soon-to-be graduates could have a brighter future thanks to a local philanthropist.
Doris Buffett attended a graduation party Wednesday night for the county’s homeless students. Seven students attended the party at Stafford Hospital. With their guests, there were more than 50 people at the party. Stafford County Public Schools homeless case manager Maarja Bracero plans the annual shindig to celebrate the accomplishments of students who struggle against sometimes insurmountable odds.
Bracero said that Buffett has offered to provide scholarships for the homeless students who plan to continue their education.
The party was sponsored by the Stafford Hospital Emergency Department Service Excellence Committee. In addition to the party (including refreshments, speakers, and the program), departments within Stafford Hospital raised approximately $4,000. About half of the money went to providing gifts for the seniors and the remainder of the money went toward money cards and donations for the families.
Wanda Ewele, co-chairwoman of the service committee said:
This is one quarterly outreach initiative that we look forward to service our community. I work with great people in the Emergency Department who have huge hearts. We have awesome Emergency Department doctors who are very generous and also want to service the community. As Co-Chairman, I want to give a big heartfelt thank you to all the Associates at Stafford who have donated items or money to help make this such a success. When service excellence decided to take on this project, I never in a million years thought it would be this successful.
More than 300 students of Stafford schools are homeless, and the numbers keep rising. Under the federal Department of Education definitions, a homeless student is any student lacking a fixed, permanent home. This includes students living in shelters, motels, campgrounds or doubled up with family or friends. It also includes unaccompanied homeless youth–those who are on their own without parents or guardians.