Removing Barriers So Every Child is Ready To Learn
The Foundation began with one generous donation and one solitary vision: to provide for the unmet basic needs of students attending Vancouver Public Schools. We see “basic” as what students need to come to school healthy, happy and ready to learn. A bed. Glasses. Dental care and hygiene items. School supplies. Shoes and clothing, to name a few.
Over the years, our work in basic needs has grown to include a Basic Needs Checkbook/One Card at each of our 36 schools and support for the district’s eighteen Family-Community Resource Centers located in our highest needs areas and two mobile units.
Approximately two-thirds of our annual budget goes toward basic needs, including:
- Clothing, shoes, and hygiene items
- Housing resources (see Housing Stability Fund)
- Medical, dental, vision screening
- Glasses, hearing aides
- School supplies
- Athletic & activity fees
- Gas card or transportation fees
Checkbook/One Card Program
The Foundation provides a “checkbook”, via a purchase card, for every principal and/or Family Resource Coordinator at each of our 37 schools to quickly and confidentially help students in need. This program allow principals to focus on individual student needs ranging from personal hygiene items to class fees, bus passes, emergency medication, senior year expenses and more.
Since starting a Housing Stability Fund in 2017, the Foundation for VPS has helped hundreds of VPS students and their families, who were at risk of eviction, keep their housing. By partnering with the Council for the Homeless, the investment to keep a family housed can be as little as $100 per student.
Family-Community Resource Centers
Family-Community Resource Centers (FCRC) support connections between families and school communities. FCRCs are a place where students and families can access a range of information and support including assistance with basic needs, connections to social services, and access to opportunities that alleviate stress, enrich learning, and promote family stability. FCRCs are helping children get to school healthy, happy, and ready to learn.
October 25, 2015, The Columbian – Vancouver schools takes lead in helping needy pupils
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Foundation supports all 18 of the district’s onsite Family-Community Resource Centers and two mobile FCRCs.
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Medical & Dental Care
Can you imagine going to school or trying to concentrate in class with an active medical problem or dental pain? That’s why the Foundation provides funding for medical and dental care for students without health insurance. We work closely with local clinics like the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington as well as traditional health care providers to offer low-cost services to students from low-income or uninsured families.
Vision & Hearing
Hundreds of our children have trouble learning due to hearing and vision problems. What if you couldn’t see the board or read a book or hear your teacher? Thanks to our donors, the Foundation is able to offer vision and audiology services such as eye exams, frames & lenses, hearing tests and hearing aids for students in need.
Athletic and Activity Fee Scholarships
The Foundation understands that after school activities are often the “anchors” that keep students in school. Yet the average cost of $80 for a high school student to participate in a school sport or activity ($30 for a middle school student, plus required insurance), is beyond the means of many families facing financial hardship.
Last year, our generous donors helped “anchor” more than 375 students by offering scholarships for middle and high school students to offset the cost of athletic and activity fees.