Homeless Student Graduates With Help From Pathways-School Team

Brenda Pickett Written by Tracey Beville-Smith, success coach, Comstock High School, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kevin Worth is one of those amazing students who showed up for school every day despite tremendous challenges.

When Comstock High School principal Josh Cunningham first contacted me concerning senior Kevin Worth, I wasn’t even sure why we were meeting.  Kevin had no attendance issues or concerns and was a well-mannered young man.”

As it turns out, Kevin had been hiding the fact that he was homeless, hungry and a Type I diabetic with no medical care. This was brought to the principal’s attention when Kevin approached him with transportation issues.  He had been riding his bike to school from an area out-of-district because he wanted to graduate from Comstock.  Mr. Cunningham immediately contacted me. I soon met with Kevin, who stated his family had a long history of being homeless.  He was in need of food, medical assistance, clothing, shoes and personal care items. He also expressed a desire to go to college but was not sure how to start the process.

The School-Pathways Team Puts the Pieces Together

The principal, school social worker and I got together and came up with a success plan for Kevin, and then we started making phone calls. A family in the community heard of the dilemma and graciously offered their home to Kevin until he went off to college.  I discussed Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) programs available with Kevin and helped him understand and complete the application process.  DHHS also provided multiple Meijer gift cards that were used to purchase clothing, personal care items and a food scale needed to maintain his Type I diabetes.  I even reached out to my spouse who donated several gently used boots and shoes to Kevin.

Life After High School

I reached out to Mr. Young, our school college advisor, and Brenda Pickett from the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services, and together, we assisted Kevin in submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid and select potential colleges to attend.  Mr. Young also submitted Kevin’s name for additional college grants for which he was approved. 

Kevin now checks in bi-weekly and updates me on his progress.  His diabetes is now under control, and he has started a temporary job with Goodwill Industries.  He is scheduled to start school this month at Michigan Career and Technical Institute-Plainwell.  He will be working weekends while in school, but for the most part is doing well.

Kevin’s story truly exemplifies how students can reach their potential when DHHS and school staff work together to help them navigate their pathway.