D.C.

Kidspace offers safe learning environment for homeless kids

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - For years, House of Ruth has helped thousands of local women and children dealing with homelessness and domestic abuse. One of its programs, Kidspace, offers a safe learning environment for children ages six weeks to five years old.

“Being born into a homeless family comes with a lot of burdens for a young child, but with intervention and kind supports we provide here at Kidspace, children can overcome those challenges,” says Carolyn Stevens, the director of development at House of Ruth.

Ebony Jackson says Kidspace has truly helped her and her son, Kamren.

“It’s changed my life a lot,” she says. “I’m able to trust people a little bit better.”

Part of what she likes is that parents are required to be involved, so she’s learning new ways to support her son.

“Parental involvement is directly correlated with a child’s achievement throughout their schooling, so we want to get that habit started early,” Stevens says.

Being born into homelessness typically comes with developmental delays, so the children at Kidspace are monitored closely to ensure they’re reaching typical milestones. If a child shows signs of emotional distress or developmental delays, therapists are available.

Jackson says her son is thriving at Kidspace.

“For me to move from the situation I was in before I came here, that move was for my son…. I couldn’t have made a better decision."

And Jackson has advice for other women who may be in difficult situations.

“Don’t be afraid to let people know what you’re going through because this is a really wonderful program not only for the children, but also for the adults.”

Kidspace is currently helping 73 kids, but in its 23 years of operation, the program has helped over 1,500 children.

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