Thursday, May 16, 2013

Resilience in Children Experiencing Homelessness

This is the second installment in a series of articles about children experiencing homelessness, written by our dedicated volunteer Sara Stacy. Please see her first article, below this one, for a picture and biography.
Resilience in Children Experiencing Homlessness by Sara Stacy 

Children experiencing homelessness are facing difficult and stressful challenges everyday, such as poverty, residential instability, violence, nutrition imbalance, and often a lack of everyday basic needs.  Organizations such as Faces without Places attempt to combat these stressors by providing them with material aid such as alternative transportation or school supplies; however by doing so, they also provide them with an intangible resource: resilience.

Resilience refers to the ability to “bounce back” from stressful or difficult situations, such as homelessness.  Resilience is particularly interesting because often times, it allows individuals in difficult situations to overcome their troubles or act in a way that improves their situation.  Finding resilience in children experiencing homelessness provides organizations like Faces without Places with hope that their efforts are useful and are helping to fight and prevent homelessness from continuing.

According to the Nation Center for Homeless Education’s research summary report on resilience in at Risk Children and Youth, resilience has been found in children who have certain “promotive factors.”  These factors include: positive relationships with caring adults, intelligence, problem solving skills, achievement motivation, effective teachers and schools and lastly, belief that life has meaning. Their research also concludes that agencies or systems that provide after school and informal learning programs were also promoting factors of resilience.

The recent research on resilience gives us hope that the work we do at Faces without Places is helping to promote resilience in young children experiencing homelessness.  We hope to break the cycle of homelessness and by giving them a better chance at overcoming their situation, Faces without Places is able to do just that.

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