LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- On this Thanksgiving holiday, there are others who are thankful for the little that they have. They are grateful for the help, encouragement and hope they receive from “A Place Called Hope.”
This is a Homeless Outreach program in the Clark County School District that is very active at Rancho High School servicing more than 120 homeless students this school year.
Angela Urquiaga, is the Registrar/Homeless Advocate at Rancho High School who works with the teenagers every school day trying to meet their needs.
“They come to school on an empty stomach. They still come to school, and they're still polite. They still say, ‘Thank you Miss. Thank you for all you do for us Miss. Don't ever leave us Miss’. It’s unbelievable,” Urquiaga said.
Students not only come into the center to get food and drink, some can take food home on the weekends, ensuring nutrition until they return to school Monday. Urquiaga wants to make sure they aren’t “hungry.”
“I don't call them children, I call them babies because each one of them each 123 of them are my babies,” she said.
As they stream in during different lunch periods, their appearance is unlike any other student at school. Their clothes are nice, and hair is well groomed. And that is because the school goes to great lengths to make sure the students are able to blend in to make this experience as painless as possible.
“We do it in a way that there is no attention brought their way to their situation of being homeless out of their own privacy issues, and to keep their dignity, because it's not easy to admit that: ‘I’m not living somewhere. I don't have everything I need’,” said Rancho High School Principal James Kuzma.
“These are families that had their home, their jobs, their health insurance, and all of a sudden their world just came down,” Urquiaga said.
She is working on making these teens have a nice Christmas. She welcomes any help from the community.
There are two other high schools that offer the same kind of help for homeless teens at Cimarron and Sunrise Mountain.