MYRTLE BEACH AREA, SC (WBTW) – As the sweet days of summer break come to a close, thousands of students across Horry County are anxiously preparing for the first day of school.
That includes dozens of homeless children at the New Directions family shelter in Myrtle Beach. Currently there are 32 children staying at the shelter with their families, and 22 of them are old enough for school.
“There might be children in the classroom that are homeless, don’t judge them,” said New Directions Case Manager, Danielle Walters. “It can happen to you, it can happen to me, just be kind.”
Walters dedicates her time to making sure these children have everything they need to succeed during the school year. She says as homeless students they are protected under the Mckinney Vento Act.
“It protects the educational rights of the children, who are in a homeless situation and it covers not only children living in a shelter, but if they’re staying in a hotel,” said Walters.
Brittany Young is living at the family shelter with her son James, and her fiance, Shawn. She says they used to have a home of their own.
“It’s a little bit challenging because I’m used to him playing in his room or in the living room, and me being able to go off and cook dinner or clean the house but here I have to have him with me at all times for safety reasons,” said Young.
She says another challenge is that the children aren’t able to invite their friends over after school since they’re staying at the shelter.
“This summer my son was able to spend some time with one of his friends from one of his class, she came to get him, took him to the park, took him to the movies,” said Young.