By Jen Burleigh
MSW Student | Community Impact Intern
Being an attendance H.E.R.O. means being here, every day, ready to learn, and on time. It may seem like a simple acronym, but for many of the families and students I work with, it’s a difficult quest. In their journey to get to school, my families must overcome a variety of villains most of us take for granted, such as transportation, clothing, food, and shelter. On their own, parents are forced to navigate San Diego’s challenging public transportation system with multiple children in tow. Many of these parents can’t afford a bus pass or breakfast. I am always amazed by the children’s resiliency and their parents’ selflessness. After working with these students and families, I realize they are all champions and heroes of their own stories.
At the end of the day we want these students to realize they don’t need someone to be their hero; they have the skills necessary to become their own heroes! With the support of student Interns from United Way of San Diego County, along with teachers, principals, and the school district, we are helping these families develop lifelong skills in learning. We are helping them navigate complicated systems and access resources that can change the narrative for them and their children.
After participating in the Attendance HERO event, these children start believing that their community does care if they are at school, and that their everyday attendance is something to be celebrated. Such a simple event brings so much excitement to these schools and those kids. Imagine what more might be in store for our student heroes!