December 15, 2016
With only a cursory inspection of our school, it’s not immediately apparent that homelessness is a predicament that students on campus might face. However, Los Altos does have an established solution, fueled by student initiative and help from administration, to help combat the issue: Club 10 is an organization on campus that provides resources for homeless families and other families in need. Its goal is not only to provide immediate assistance, but also to proffer guidance in legal, financial and medical areas related to homelessness.
Club 10 was created last year by a group of parents, administrators and students who had observed how homelessness was affecting some of their peers.
“[People usually] either come to me or go to… [the bilingual community liaison] who has a lot of connections with the community here at Los Altos,” counselor and Club 10 founder Ariel Rojas said. “We’ve had cases where people are homeless. We’ve had a few cases with families living in cars, families that are in need of paying rent, families who are in need of food. It’s not a ‘huge’ issue because a lot of families at this school do well here, but we do have families that are in need.”
Last school year, Club 10 held fundraising auctions to aid families by offering financial assistance in paying rent as well as other areas. Members hope to continue the practice this year, while also introducing new methods to help students grappling with homelessness and other dilemmas, such as more fundraisers and auctions.
Students can contribute to Club 10’s efforts in a variety of ways, primarily involving membership in the club and donations to the auctions that Club 10 is planning for this year.
“We would like a bigger membership in the club,” Rojas said. “But a big thing is for students to be aware: if you know somebody who’s in need and they’re not saying anything, come talk to us… We’re not going to publish names [or] talk about a particular family or anything like that… If you’re going through any hardship, you can always come to us and talk to us. We will always [maintain] confidentiality.”
Los Altos runs the gamut of charity clubs, ranging from local to international. Yet at the heart of the Los Altos community, the key issue of homelessness is all but overlooked. Club 10 is a strong first step, and with more initiative and increased dialogue between students and administration, the issue of homelessness at Los Altos can continue to improve.