Friday, September 16, 2005

Help for homeschoolers in the Katrina Zone

We've received a number of calls asking how to help homeschoolers who have been displaced or disrupted by Hurricane Katrina.  While there are many agencies well equipped to provide food, clothing, and shelter, only other homeschoolers will understand the need to replace critical educational materials -- because when the homes were flooded, their school system was destroyed at the same time.

There are several projects which started up within days of the storm, but as we learned helping the victims of Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the need will continue for months, and months, and months … the following are accepting cash and credit donations, and I can personally vouch for the integrity and determination of the leaders in each case.

Three projects we can recommend are:

The Home School Foundation "Hurricane Emergency Response" and "Operation Extended Family"
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The Foundation is a charitable fund operated by the Home School Legal Defense Association.  Donations should be designated for Katrina relief, since HSF has a number of different assistance projects ongoing.

Family Reformation Ministries "Operation Katrina"
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FRM is headed up by our friend James MacDonald of Katy, Texas, just outside of Houston.  Among other things, James is using his contacts within the homeschooling community and publishing world to provide curriculum for home educators flooded out by the storm.

National Black Home Educators Resource Association
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NBHERA is led by long time brethren Eric and Joyce Burgess of Baker, Louisiana, a suburb of Baton Rouge.  I spoke with Joyce recently -- it took several days to get a phone call through at all -- and she said their project is focusing on the black families which were hit so hard in New Orleans.  Their church in Baker is operating a shelter for over 500 evacuees, and Joyce said she and a team of volunteers are working with the mothers of preschoolers in the shelter -- although most of them may not have been considering homeschooling, while living in the shelter there's literally no place for the pre-K children to go, and Joyce's group is helping them fill the time with worthwhile and educational activity.  NBHERA is a special group always, but they are particularly close to the crisis at this moment.

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