An Oklahoma mother battling addiction and homelessness is fighting to make a better life for her kids. She found help through Positive Tomorrows, the state’s only elementary school that serves homeless children.
“We've been couch homeless, we've been homeless homeless, we've been car homeless, shelter homeless,” said Shayna Prezleski.
These are the living conditions Prezleski was determined to put behind her.
“I have to be here for these kids, these kids have nobody, they don't have anybody, it's just mommy and I have to do this for them,” she said.
While getting clean, her three kids attended the school, tuition free.
“It's chronic every day trauma,” said Susan Agel, president of Positive Tomorrows.
The school serves about 150 homeless kids each year who all facing similar situations.
“It's the everyday uncertainty of not knowing if there's going to be dinner that night of sleeping in a different place every night that kind of trauma really plays into how a child's whole behavior is during a course of a day,” Agel said.
The nonprofit provides basic needs to each child, food and even clothing so they can concentrate on their classwork.
“It's our goal to help children who are behind academically and socially get up to speed in those areas and at the same time work with their parents so that they have income and they have housing and they have employment and when all those things are together and have been that way for a while then we help move the children back into public school,” she said.
Knowing her children received what they needed at school, Prezleski eventually landed a job.
“Everything's just kind of working out now you know and it's like when i wake up I’m like, I’m happy,” Prezleski said. “They're learning has improved. I think definitely their behavior and stuff has improved. Their just genuinely happy and I couldn't be more blessed and thankful for that.”
The new school is expected to be completed next fall and will include a head start program and eventually offer classes for middle school students up to 8th grade.