Medford project to help homeless kids earns national award

The Medford School District's Maslow Project for homeless children and youth has received a national award.

Director Mary Ferrell will receive the award, given for school-based programs for homeless students, at the 20th annual conference for the National Association for Education of Homeless Children & Youth in Washington. D.C., on Nov. 2.

The program was launched in June 2007 with a collaboration between her program and Kids Unlimited but now also includes partnerships with Community Works, Oregon Department of Human Services, the Job Council and area churches and service organizations, Ferrell said.

Maslow students are assigned a case manager who assesses their needs and, with the student, creates an action plan. Accountability and self sufficiency are stressed, Ferrell said.

The program served 475 students in its first year.

Ferrell will pitch the power of collaboration at the national convention on Sunday, she said.

"It just took somebody taking a look at the system, and then coordinating the services, so the system itself doesn't become a barrier to the kids' success," Ferrell said.

— Sanne Specht

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