The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South panelists reveal stories, urge others to assist homeless

By Alex Wright/reporter

Individuals share about conquering their dark pasts

A group of diverse individuals brought the face of poverty to South Campus during a panel discussion for the Cultivating Education in the Midst of Poverty summit April 30.

Each panel member’s story was different. Some were single mothers. Some were suffering from mental disease, drug or alcohol abuse. Others had lost their family and/or jobs and had nowhere to turn and no money to move on.

“Poverty was an opportunity, not a barrier,” said TCC graduate LaDoris Pope, now pursuing a master’s degree.

Tina Jenkins, South behavioral sciences department chair, explained the Visions Unlimited program to students and professionals who attended the seminar.

“Our main objective is service to those students who fall into the homelessness category,” she said.

The Visions program provides students who may come from different circumstances and for various personal reasons have become homeless.

“Our definition of homelessness falls under if a student lacks regular fixed or adequate nighttime residence,” said June Davis, special programs director for Fort Worth ISD.

The main goal of the Fort Worth ISD program is to keep the students in school as well as to eliminate the stigma attached to being homeless, Davis said.

Her organization also provides school supplies and clothing, assists with transportation, helps with the enrollment process and provides tutoring 24/7.

“Adversity is a good thing,” TCC graduate Greg Rios said. “Society has put a stigma on people with criminal backgrounds.”

Rios said he thinks the Visions program helps people encourage one another and shows poverty has no specific face, gender or race.

Not only does this program provide education for college students, it also helps eligible high school students.

“Currently in Tarrant County, there are 1,900 high school students not enrolled in school due to lack of family support and poverty,” Davis said. “High school students are very hard to identify. Therefore, we provide training for our staff to make sure they treat our students not as someone who is ‘homeless,’ but a normal high school student wanting to succeed.”

Most panelists agreed with Davis, saying self-confidence matters to everyone who becomes homeless.

“Pride is a big issue with this situation,” Pope said. “I am my brother’s keeper!”

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