The Monarch School serves close to 300 students in kindergarten through 12th grade who are in a “homeless situation.” It provides showers before and after school, toiletries, clothing and food to its students. But like most schools, it is closed due to the pandemic.
“The safe place we worked so hard to build is now no longer accessible to our students and families,” said Monarch Project’s Interim CEO Marisol Alvarado. “We shifted the work.”
Alvarado said the school is providing distance learning as well as supports to students. They can still come to the school every two weeks to pick up toiletries, clothing, and gift cards to buy food. The staff also reaches out to families to make sure they are getting health care, therapy through telehealth and to make sure students are doing their distance learning assignments provided by the teachers at Monarch.
Victor Rodriguez is in the 11th grade at Monarch. He had been doing his distance learning from inside his family’s car., which was also where the family slept. His father would drive to various locations to get wifi connection.
Monarch is now providing a hotel room to Rodriguez and his family, and he says his grades are benefiting.
“I couldn’t really get all my grades up to date, but now I can,” said Victor. "It's better than sleeping in a car, I have a nice bed and a roof over my head."
Alvarado said, “I know the families are survivors, they have a lot of ability to problem solve… but in this situation it’s exponentially harder.”
The Monarch School received a $100,000 grant from the San Diego Foundation to provide shelter, educational support and other services to homeless students and families. The nonprofit announced the COVID-19 Community Response Fund has reached $10.8 million in donations. To date, the fund has granted $7 million to more than 50 San Diego nonprofit organizations.
Victor is thankful. “I just like to be grateful for what I have because my mom taught me to be that way not to be choosy because not everyone has opportunity to live in a hotel.”