Blake Knoblauch was nine years old when Horizons Elementary principal Gloria Hunter identified him as a leader among his peers and invited him to help her lead assemblies. It was a big deal to a little kid who would become a community leader and the new executive director of Lacey South Sound Chamber.
Horizons Elementary was brand new that year and adopted a unique instruction model that grouped two grade levels in the same classroom. Leaders from around the state visited the campus, and Mrs. Hunter enlisted Blake to give tours. “Superintendents and school board members wanted to see the new model in action, and thanks to Mrs. Hunter, that meant I got to interact with them even as a third-grader,” Blake explains.
The 2020 Thurston County homeless census found that 995 individuals experienced homelessness – living unsheltered or in emergency or transitional housing. This is a 24 percent increase over 2019 and is the highest count since the homeless census efforts began in 2006.
Thurston County participates in a statewide annual “Point in Time Count of Homeless Persons” referred to as the “homeless census.” This census helps determine the number of homeless people in the county and its causes and assists in developing a comprehensive strategic response to the issue. School Districts report the number of students (pre-kindergarten through 12th grade) that experience homelessness during the school year to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Last school year, 655 North Thurston Public School students were homeless.
Through Student Assitance Grants, NTEF can often assist families with housing deposits, rent payments, and other financial assistance to ensure students in the North Thurston School District have adequate and safe housing.
Want to help?
Consider a donation to NTEF to help students and families in the district avoid homelessness. In the past, many of our donors have donated government stimulus checks if they are in a position to do so.
All students experiencing homelessness have rights to immediate school enrollment, priority in certain preschool programs, free meals at school and the right to obtain information regarding free services and transportation services. For additional information, visit https://www.nthurston.k12.wa.us/homeless.
We recently were able to help a family and received this note:
I want to show my family’s appreciation for the North Thurston Education Foundation’s help when my car broke down, and we were homeless. Getting my kids to school so they didn’t have to think about our living conditions was all that I prayed for, and God answered by sending the wonderful people of North Thurston Education Foundation to help our family. We were able to have heat in the car so the kids weren’t cold during the winter. I could also get the kids to their school performances for orchestra, band and choir. The new clothes helped so much.
Your Foundation has done so much to help our family achieve our children’s education goals during this year. We were already homeless when we lost everything in a hotel fire. You all helped to restore smiles to my children’s faces. I’m truly thankful to God for you all. God bless you all for all your generosity and hard work but most importantly, the love and compassion you showed my family and others in our time of need.
Thank you again so much!
Here is a note from a family were able to assist with housing deposits: Thank you so much for the help with our deposit; it helped me, my wife, and four children get into a home that we could actually call home. It has made a big change for our family, and our children are so grateful not to have to sleep in our SUV, a shed, or someone else’s home.
This is one of my favorite visuals of how NTEF has recently supported The Family & Youth Resource Center. We had no pants available in our Kids Closet back in November, but thanks to the generosity of NTEF, this need was fulfilled! Thank you, NTEF. We are so grateful for the continued support!
North Thurston Public Schools, McKinney Vento Student Navigator – Timberline High School
I’m Mike Jones, Executive Director of the North Thurston Education Foundation. We are so thankful for all of our donors who have helped support students and families over the last year during COVID-19, which has presented additional challenges for students in the district. We are incredibly proud of the work of the educators and all North Thurston Public Schools’ staff, who have gone above and beyond to support students during this time. We could not do this important work without your support and dedication to our students. Our students and families now – more than ever – need support to remove barriers and enhance opportunities for success.
Thanks for reading our latest news! Contact me for sponsorship opportunities, questions, suggestions, or to share a personal story about NTEF’s impact on your school, family or the community. Thanks for your continued support in removing barriers, enhancing learning, and enriching lives for North Thurston Public Schools’ students.
Hops n Drops is offering 10% off all delivery orders placed on their website through December 31. Funds will be donated back into the local Thurston County community to organizations helping those in need during the holiday season. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with the latest news.
We recently were able to help a family with their cable bill and received this note: “My partner recently lost a job he loved and I’ve taken the full financial responsibility for my family, which was very unexpected. I don’t have any family members or people in my life who are able to help financially and the bills started to pile up. The cable bill is usually one of the less “important” bills but I am obligated to a contract with the company, and the outstanding balance was growing larger. With the help of NTEF, I was able to pay off the balance, which relieved an enormous amount of financial pressure. Angels come in all forms and that day, you were mine. I am so thankful for the help!”
*Before COVID-19, the Foundation did not help families pay cable/internet bills as it fell into the “non-essential” category. However, now that most students are attending school online, cable/internet has moved to an “essential” category, and we help families on a case-by-case basis.
The deadline for the Sock & Shoe Drive to benefit NTEF families has been extended to December 23! Drop off locations are Farmers Insurance at 4403 Lacey Blvd SE in Lacey and PC Technologies at 3739 Griffin Ln SE in Olympia.
The organizers are also willing to schedule a pick-up! Contact Farmers Insurance at 360-491-5625 or PC Technologies at 360-491-2227 for additional information.
The CARES Act, which went into effect this spring, established a new above-the-line deduction for charitable giving.
You can write off up to $300 in cash donations on your 2020 income tax return, which you’ll be filing next spring.
Normally, you’d have to itemize deductions to write off charitable giving when you file your taxes. According to the IRS, about 14.8 million households took a tax break for donating to charity in 2018.