Mirella is a social worker in the Nampa School District, which has the highest number of homeless students in the state of Idaho at more than 1,500. She sees firsthand the needs of these students.
About a year ago, United Way of Treasure Valley began supplying ‘Hygiene Kits’ to the Nampa School District. The kits include basic hygiene items, like soap, shampoo, tooth paste, deodorant and feminine hygiene products. Many of Nampa’s homeless students do not have these items, preventing them from feeling clean and comfortable at school.
These hygiene kits allow more than just students to fit in; these items can help increase attendance rates, and, ultimately, graduation rates, Mirella says.
“We had one student who had been staying place-to-place because life at home was a horrible situation. Unfortunately, because she was staying place to place, she was also drawn into the drug use life. She was finally identified and referred to our office for help,” Mirella said.
“She came in and when we handed her a Hygiene Kit from United Way, her eyes lit up. She said that because she went from place to place, she did not have the basic things to stay clean. After that, she would come into our office to request hygiene supplies as she needed. The Hygiene Kits were our connection to her; we were able to encourage and guide her to make positive changes in her life.”
Mirella is thankful that United Way raises funds and collects donations to impact the lives of children in the Treasure Valley.
“We have had the blessing of partnering with United Way to help our homeless students succeed in school,” Mirella said. “I have been giving to United Way because I know that United Way has such a positive impact in our community especially for your most vulnerable students who are homeless.”