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Boise shelter focuses on helping homeless students succeed academically

A program at City Light Home for Women and Children is creating some normalcy for local homeless students and restoring hope for their future.

BOISE — On any given night about 45 kids and their families are staying at the City Light Home for Women and Children, a homeless shelter in downtown Boise. Many of the kids staying there go to school, but don't have a permanent home to come back too.

A program at City Light is creating some normalcy for them and restoring hope for the future.

"I think we take for granted that kitchen table where kids can do their homework," said Shelli Hansen, the children's program manager at the City Light Learning Center. "We just really want these kids to have the opportunity to be kids and to not worry about some of the stuff their families are going through right now."

Hansen says focusing on homework is a positive escape for the grade school kids, and volunteer tutors make it easier.

"It's just that little help that can get their grades up and give them the opportunity to do better things," said Thomas Napier, an 11th grader at Bishop Kelly who helps out every week.

The Learning Center also offers dance, yoga, chess, and a program just for teenagers.

"I make friends, a lot of friends," said Daniel Kulimushi, a 10th grader who is homeless. " Sometimes we swim and have barbeque and we do a lot of things in the teen program. It's really cool."

In the spring, they even do a college road trip to show the students what could be on the horizon.

"Just to see the hope past today," Hansen said. "What's happening right now is temporary. You know a lot of them just take on the stress of their family right now and we just want to provide every opportunity for them to just be kids, to do their homework, to be silly, and to play."

The City Light Learning Center has a 12 week summer program for homeless kids as well. This past summer, 88 boys and girls took part.

The Children's Program at City Light is operated through the Boise Rescue Mission and is fueled by donations from our generous community. If you would like to help, click here.

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