WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/107826

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Page 139 of 203

volunteering community service helping out doing our part good works contributions neighbor to neighbor UnitedStates4Kids Weston Residents Advocate for Homeless Children C A R O LY N S . E L L I S writer philanthropy when you think "homeless person," what do you see? For most, the answer would be a solitary man or woman living on the street. Most don't picture any of the estimated 750,000 to one million children ages six and under who are homeless in the United States. According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, families with children ages 0-6 are one of the fastest-growing segments of the homeless population, a widespread and bigger problem than most people know. In Massachusetts, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education estimates that in 2007 there were more than 55,000 homeless children younger than school age (and another 55,000 ROGER D PELISSIER homeless school-aged children and youth) in the Commonwealth. Victoria Whalen and Laurie Schoen are working to change that. Through the advocacy organization they founded, UnitedStates4Kids, these Weston residents aim to increase awareness and services for our youngest homeless children. "Most homeless children are discovered when it's time to go to school," Schoen says. "Without mandatory or We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 3 federally funded preschool, that's at kindergarten." Homeless children are more likely to be hungry or sick, have learning disabilities, or have experienced trauma. Once in school, they have access to feeding programs, immunizations, and health care. An alumna of Lesley College in Cambridge and CEO of US4Kids, Schoen has had a lifelong career in early childhood education. She believes that early intervention results in a better trajectory for children. She was a founder of Great Beginnings, a transitional kindergarten 138 Victoria Whalen (left) and Laurie Schoen

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