What is the Cove?
Each day, high school students can fill their backpacks and their stomachs; wash clothes, shower and get a free workout in thanks to The Cove. According to their website, in the 2017-2018 academic year, the Cove had 1,436 student visits during their 138 days of operation. This number is triple what it was just one year ago.
Where is it?
The Cove is an after-school program serving the Waco area. Waco ISD had 335 high school students identified as homeless in the 2017-2018 school year, according to The Cove’s website.
Why does it matter?
The Cove serves high school students who worry about where to sleep and how to get food - in addition to tests, quizzes, crushes and blending in.
“We’re human. It’s all our responsibilities. We’ve created the environment. We have weaknesses. We have strong points. But, we can’t let lives fall through the cracks and be ignored. These kids, unfortunately, are invisible in this system that we have,” Chairman Dave Brennar said.
The impact of a nonprofit like the Cove can be seen inside and out of the facility. Without getting involved in the lives of our most vulnerable youth, not only are youth affected, but the community as well.
Board Chairman Dave Brennar says, “The cost to the community – in my opinion – is great. We have kids who are lifelong, if they don’t get where they need to go. They’re in food stamps. They’re in social security. They’re getting Medicare, Medicaid. They’re not taking care of themselves, so we got high expenses for medical cost. They’ve got prison – judicial – jail. All these things in their future if we don’t make a difference and let them see another way and it just takes time.”
Students who visit The Cove spend time with volunteers and professionals who care for students by taking care of the five basic human needs. Food, water, warmth, rest and safety can often be up in the air when a child doesn’t know where they will be staying after school.
Who can help?
Cove professionals ensure students connect with shelters, like Youth Crisis Respite House, where students can find temporary shelter, or CPS, if need be. The Cove offers access to experts in social work and psychiatry. They need a well-rounded set of volunteers.
“We live off the volunteer support no matter what that is– they’re not people with social work backgrounds. But they’re people who can make a meal. We have a book club, that since the very beginning. The book club spends one day a week at the St. Albin’s church cooking a meal for our kids.”
Brennan says, “We’re looking for a new home. This Is rental facilities for us. It’s been a great facility for the last 3 years for us. We have outgrown it. Now we need new facilities. I t costs a lot of money to get a new facility and we’ve got to find a way to make that happen.”
What we can do?
Brennan says it’s all about diversity in funding and volunteers. He adds, the community is the best judge of whether an operation is worthy of being funded. People will give time and money when they recognize the good being done.