• This week: Mon., 11/19, even day; Tues., 11/20, odd day; Wed.-Fri., no school. Happy Thanksgiving!

The Demon Tattler

Adelante Reaches Out to SFPS Families In Need

Veronica Serrano, Author

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The SFPS Adelante Program provides help for teens, children and families who are struggling or are on the verge of homelessness. Adelante offers food, referrals, clothes, school supplies and much more. The program is also bilingual.

Located at 1300 Camino Sierra Vista, help is provided Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Wednesdays from 3 to 4:30 p.m., fresh food bags are given out to families who qualify for the program.

Juntos los Miercoles is an event at Sweeney Elementary School that provides families with free dinner, clothing, books, activities for both parents and children, and more on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30. The first juntos was held Sept. 26.; they will continue throughout the school year.

Adelante, which means “forward” in English, also provides referrals for housing, mental health support, utilities, and after-school care.  

To qualify for help from Adelante, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The family/adult must have a child in their care who is a student in Santa Fe Public Schools.
  2. The family must be experiencing homelessness by way of living in a shelter, being doubled up in an apartment, couch-surfing or living in a house without electricity.
  3. The family is at risk of becoming homeless, for example if they have been given an eviction notice.
  4. The family is living in inadequate housing, for example without running water.
  5. An unaccompanied student is not living with their legal parent or guardian.

The Adelante Program, founded in 2003 by Gaile Herling, works under the McKinney Vento Law, which was established in 1987 to help and protect homeless children so they can have the same opportunities to succeed and graduate as any other student.

Attiana Virella-Fuentes, a former SFHS counselor, became the new coordinator of Adelante in August. ¨I’m enjoying the variety of things I get to do and the community collaborations I am able to be a part of,¨ she said.

Ms. Virella-Fuentes first learned about the Adelante program while working at SFHS. “I saw how instrumental the program is in supporting students who are living in unstable housing,” she said, adding that Adelante works to ensure access to education, which is very important to her.

“As November and December approach and folks begin to think about the holidays, I would encourage students and adults to remember those among us who are without heat, water or maybe without a place to stay,” she said. At this time of the year, Adelante appreciates any new or gently used winter coats or other warm items.

Other ways the community can help is by participating in food and clothing drives, by volunteering and/or cooking for Juntos los Miercoles, and by donating money. Money for Adelante can be donated here: https://app.mobilecause.com/form/0b7Riw

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