ACA National Conference Community Service Project

Giving back to our host city has become an annual tradition for ACA National Conference attendees and exhibitors.

The 2017 ACA National Conference Planning Team has chosen to collect items for the Albuquerque Public Schools Title I Homeless Project as the service project for this year's conference.

The trauma of homelessness, severe poverty, and high mobility combine to wreak havoc on the academic progress of children and youth in school. According to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Education (2012), more and more students continue to struggle with the burden of finding a stable place to live, and the number of homeless students in America has topped 1 million for the first time. The largest and most important safety net for homeless children and youth is the public school system, which provides both basic services as well as the education that is necessary to avoid poverty as adults.

During the 2015-2016 academic school year, more than 3,500 homeless youth were identified as living in a homeless situation in the Albuquerque Public Schools. Of that, roughly 600 were identified as Unaccompanied Youth. Unaccompanied Youth are youth who are experiencing homelessness while not in the physical custody of a parent or legal guardian. Many have no permanent place to call home, and will “couch surf” between friends, youth shelters, a motel, to another friend's home, never staying too long in one place.

The APS Title I Homeless Project has weekly lunch programs at 9 High Schools in APS. These lunch programs provide a place and time for students to check in, a chance to grab some pizza, request a bus pass, or replenish needed hygiene products. These lunch programs provide hygiene “survival bags” to the students who are continuing to stay in school and work towards graduation, despite not having a place to call home. Your donation will go directly to these youth enrolled in Albuquerque Public Schools. Thank you for your kindness and generosity!

Below is a list of items we will be collecting at the hospitality desk at conference.

Survival Bag (A camp string bag or day pack with any or all of the following items inside):

  • Underwear (various ladies and men's sizes/boxers size XS-XL)
  • Socks (adult sizes)
  • Sports bras (varying adult and teenage sizes)
  • Deodorant
  • Chapstick
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush
  • Combination shampoo/conditioner
  • Soap
  • Lotion
  • Hair ties
  • Hairbrushes/combs
  • Gum
  • Mints
  • Fun 'extras' (Nerf football, earbuds, stress balls, hack sacks, deck of cards, gel pens, lip gloss), are always so appreciated also.
  • Fast Food Gift Cards* ($5 or $10 for McDonalds, Taco Bell, Subway, Panda Express, etc.)
  • Target Gift Cards**

* For Students: small denomination fast food gift cards are invaluable to ensure that the students have access to food over the weekends, winter break, etc. when they cannot rely on school breakfast and lunch.

** For the Organization: Target gift cards of any amount are greatly appreciated. These are used to purchase air mattresses, emergency clothing and shoes, bras, socks and underwear, coats, or any unforeseen student and family needs throughout the school year. They also sometimes give smaller amounts ($20) to the high school students. The reason they ask for Target cards is that they do not sell alcohol. 

Giving back to our host city....ACA helping local kids....A great partnership!

2017 ACA National Conference Planning Team