New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter Expands E-Learning Capabilities
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is leaving scores of New Orleans residents unemployed, while a growing wave of evictions is also rendering many of them homeless. It is also forcing schools to completely restructure in order to maintain a safe learning environment.
The New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter (NOWCS), the largest shelter for homeless women and children in New Orleans, is ramping up their efforts, especially in education and employment, to address the holistic needs of homeless families as they face these significant challenges.
Due to the current closure of Orleans Parish Public School buildings, students are participating in e-learning. Because of this, NOWCS is adding additional computers and tablets to its successful education and employment program.
“Every child deserves to have the tools they need to succeed while in the shelter and beyond,” says New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter Executive Director Dawn Bradley-Fletcher. “In our new normal, that looks a little different. Additional staffing, operating measures, technology, supplies and help from the community are needed now more than ever.”
NOWCS’ Education and Employment Center is the hub for technology, employment support services, and after school and summer programs. It is a vital resource to the shelter’s residents during this time.
The organization estimates between 20 to 25 school age children currently living in the shelter — or who have recently moved out and are participating in its Transition Assistance Program — will need to use shelter resources during the school year.
The agency is also looking to hire someone to assist with student needs throughout the day — such as tech assistance, tutoring, meals and snacks and cleaning, etc.— when students would normally be in school, and to provide assistance with enrichment activities in its after school program while ensuring all COVID-19-related protocols are carried out.
Additionally, NOWCS’s case management team will work with the Orleans Parish Public School’s Office of Student Support and Attendance, as well as charter schools and parents, to assist in students’ academic success and transition to full-time attendance.
“With the uncertainty that this time brings, our goal is to not only help our children and families succeed while they are at the shelter, but during every step of their journey,” says NOWCS Director of Client Services L’Oreal Ranson. “We are committed to empowering our families and we hope others will want to help us continue that mission.”
NOWCS’s mission is to enable women and their children to transition from a life of homelessness and poverty to one of stability and self-sufficiency.
New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter has served more than 3,000 parents and their children since 2007. Two thirds of the people served are children, many of whom are under the age of 10. An average of 80 percent of shelter residents have transitioned to sustainable, independent living.
To date, none of NOWCS’s residents have contracted COVID-19 in shelter.
Address: 2020 South Liberty St. 70113
Phone: (504) 522-9340
Funders for this project: Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana, Avexon and a few individuals.
How can readers help?
Visit nowcs.org/school to make a donation.
How can businesses help?
Businesses can help by visiting nowcs.org/school to make a donation or by calling our Development Director, Melissa Tyler, at (504) 522-9340 ext. 106