SchoolHouse Connection’s DC Summit brings young leaders to the nation’s capitol for leadership development, policy advocacy, peer support, and fun.

2018 DC Summit

At the 2018 SchoolHouse Connection DC Summit, SchoolHouse Connection’s Young Leaders shared their wisdom, insights, and experiences with congressional and U.S. Department of Education policymakers in Washington DC. The youth traveled from Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington state. All of the young people have experienced, or are experiencing homelessness, have graduated from high school and are either in college or recently completed college.

Speaking at a Congressional briefing sponsored by the Education Leads Home campaign, in coordination with U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the young leaders urged us to remember that,

“There are millions of homeless youth and they still need our attention. Go find them!”

They spoke of the barriers created by homelessness, but also the people, programs, and policies that helped them get to the finish line of their high school graduation. Many also spoke about their aspirations for college and the importance of getting a postsecondary degree.

“My education and future have never meant more to me. Knowledge was my savior, a guiding hand that pulled me from a promised doom.”

Many thanks to Victoria Pasquantonio, Education Editor at PBS NewsHour, who moderated the event.

The youth had plenty of time for fun, too – visiting the monuments at night, museums, and lots of food!

Young Leaders’ Perspectives

Ed graduated with Highest Honors from a Blue Ribbon High School District in Illinois. He is a third-year Urban Studies student at Wheaton College. “This past June, my SchoolHouse Connection peers and I came from all over the U.S. to Washington, D.C. to speak truth — our truths — to power and to each other… Our time together was a revival of some sort … of resiliency, of being nurtured, and of past pain and trauma.”

> Read Ed’s Perspective.

Megan, age 20, graduated from the Anchorage School District, AK. She is majoring in Nursing at The University of Alaska, Anchorage. “I realized that I was an advocate. I wasn’t just a youth spinning a sob story to get someone’s attention. I was a young adult talking about the realities that homeless youth face. I faced these realities in my childhood, and I know that many others still face them, and will continue to face them in childhoods yet to come.”

> Read Megan’s Perspective.

Latte, graduated from Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Washington in 2015 and is an incoming senior at Portland State University, majoring in sociology. In this guest post in SchoolHouse Washington’s “Collaboratory” series, Latte Harris reflects on a recent youth summit and congressional briefing on student homelessness.

> Read Latte’s Perspective.

2017 DC Summit

At the 2017 SchoolHouse Connection DC Summit, SchoolHouse Connection’s Young Leaders shared their wisdom, insights, and experiences with congressional and U.S. Department of Education policymakers in Washington DC. Eleven students and four peer leaders traveled to the nation’s capital from across the country. All of the young people have experienced, or are experiencing homelessness, have graduated from high school and are either in college or recently completed college.

SHC’s Young Leaders took part in a Congressional briefing sponsored by SchoolHouse Connection, Civic Enterprises, America’s Promise Alliance, and the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness, in coordination with U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). We are very grateful to America’s Promise Alliance for live streaming the event so that people all over the country can learn from these courageous young people.

There was plenty of time for fun, too – monuments, museums, and beating the sweltering DC heat!

Young Leaders’ Perspectives

Morgan, who will enter her junior year in college, wrote “When homelessness began for me, I never felt comfortable talking to people about it because I did not want them to feel sorry for me, or judge me. I met so many young people like me, with SchoolHouse Connection’s young leaders in DC, and I knew I was in a safe place where I could talk about it and not be judged.”

> Read Morgan’s Perspective.

Tia, a SchoolHouse Connection peer leader who will start dental school in the fall, said “Having the opportunity to serve as a peer leader, although heart-heavy, was therapeutic, empowering and good for the soul… One of the best things about bringing these students together is their ability to recognize the resilience, strength, and value of their peers.”

> Read Tia’s Perspective.

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