Positive Tomorrows, a metro elementary school for homeless children, is getting a new building thanks to help from the Oklahoma City community. The expansion is desperately needed.
At the current 8,000 square-foot facility, Positive Tomorrows is turning away about 100 kids a year, but the new 36,000 square-foot facility will change all of that.
The 2017-2018 school year was the most crowded yet since Positive Tomorrows became private in 2005, serving 149 children who do not have a place to call home.
Former student David Berry said the environment helped him during a difficult period in his family's life, which is why he now volunteers his time giving back.
He said, “A traditional school, you kind of have your groups and all that, and at Positive Tomorrows everyone bonded because of the situation we were in.”
The school is not just for educating kids. It provides clothes and toiletries when they need it, and caseworkers work with parents to overcome their homelessness, allowing the children to re-enter the public school system without shame.
President Susan Agel said more and more families are needing help.
“They hide away really well because they’re afraid they’ll lose their kids,” she said, “but they are there and they are growing.”
In turn, Positive Tomorrows is growing as well. The new building will include Head Start classes for newborns and toddlers, middle school classes up to eighth grade and special education classes.
It will also include more amenities for the family.
“We just really tried to make it seem like a homey spot,” Agel said.
Parents will practice cooking healthy meals with their children in the school’s training kitchen, and students can take advantage of a gym, outdoor learning spaces and more.
The $15 million needed for it all was raised in a year and a half. Five million dollars came from tax credits, but more than $10 million came from community donors.
“It hasn’t felt like it’s been that hard,” Agel said, “because we’ve asked people and they’ve said yes, and they’ve been generous.”
The goal is to have the new building up and running in time for kids to return to school in Fall 2019.
To learn more about Positive Tomorrows, click here.