What would you do if you were 15 years old, homeless, and told that you couldnt come back to the high school you had been attending and thriving at? Try to get a job without an education, live on the streets and hope for the best, turn to selling drugs for money to survive, or do months of research, find the McKinney-Vento Act, acquire a not-for-profit lawyer who believes in you and your rights, and file a class-action lawsuit; win back your rights and those of homeless students nationally to an education.
Thats exactly what Brandon Haynes did four years ago. He and his family were forced to move from their Montgomery County, Md., home to double up with his uncles family in Washington, D.C. Because of this change in residence, he was barred from returning to his high school the following year.
With a desire to continue his education where it had begun, he searched for a solution and found the McKinney-Vento Acta law that protects the rights of homeless families. After a year-long journey, Brandon fought his battle through the courts and was re-admitted to his former high school. Brandons individual persistence resulted in reauthorizing the McKinney-Vento Act to expand and clarify the definition of homeless.
Shelter Care Ministries will have Brandon as its speaker for its annual Spring Luncheon, Thursday, May 11, at Tebala Shrine Temple.
This years event is co-sponsored by RBC Dain Rauscher and St. James Catholic Church, and will include words from Mayor Larry Morrissey. Select students have also been invited to this event in hopes of learning from a peer.
Education is a strong subject, especially in Rockford, and Brandon will speak about the importance of that education and the values associated with it.
Life is all about decisions, and Brandon is a prime role model for how to do things correctly. Now at age 19, he attends college (majoring in business administration) and started his own event-planning and production business called Innovative Event Concepts.
The Marketplace, full of delicious homemade jams and goodies and handmade crafts and flowers (just in time for Mothers Day) opens at 11 a.m. The luncheon starts promptly at noon and ends at 1 p.m. If you want to be inspired by the youth of tomorrow, then you wont want to miss Brandon Haynes story at Shelter Care Ministries Annual Spring Luncheon.
Tickets are $35 each or a table of eight for $280. Call 964-5520 for reservations. All proceeds benefit Housing Program for Homeless Families; Providing Families a Hand Up, not a hand out, since 1985.
From the May 10-16, 2006, issue