Ellen DeGeneres lends a hand to San Diego’s homeless children

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Ellen DeGeneres, earning a nickname of Ellen DeGenerous, has lent her high-profile name to help boost the funding for a local San Diego program that has long since deserved the media spotlight.  Seeing homeless people in the streets is nothing new to the citizens of San Diego.  This year new information was collected by the 2012 ‘WeAllCount’ Campaign revealed that the number of homeless in San Diego increased by 9% in the past year.  The total number rose from about 9,020 to 9,800 according to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

Volunteers went through the city and counted the number of people sleeping on benches in parks, in riverbeds, on the sidewalk, and anywhere that was not meant for people to inhabit.  They also added the number of people occupying the emergency housing and safe havens.  Among this staggering count there are numerous children included and one program, The Monarch School, is pioneering an effort to bring education to the homeless children of San Diego.

The Monarch School has established the vision to provide “an excellent academic and supportive environment in which any student in San Diego County who is impacted by homelessness will receive a rigorous education and grow personally to become a highly motivated, contributing member of society.”  The school began with humble beginnings in 1987 with funds from the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE).  It was originally called The P.L.A.C.E. (Progressive Learning Alternative for Children’s Education).  After several moves into new facilities as the program expanded and challenges with funding The Monarch School is about to enter a whole new chapter.

In November the school gained unanimous approval from the City Council to purchase and remodel a new site to accommodate at least 300 students and provide them with the features necessary for a modern learning environment.  In March an incredible donation of $3.5 million dollars was made by developer Nat Bosa which will allow the school to open debt-free.  The funding continues to pour in.  More help came from a different source, crew from The Ellen DeGeneres Show arrived to film the school for a segment on the talk show.  The Union-Tribune reported that the experience was an eye-opening moment for the crew and the producer approached the principal to say, “When we do this, we look for special moments to capture the story. You walk around here, it’s all special moments.”

To top it off Ellen DeGeneres presented the principal with a surprise donation of $50,000 from Skype’s Educational Program.  This will help with the new facility’s operating expenses as it sets the standard for educating the homeless children so that they can have a better and brighter future.

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