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Executive Gardner Announces New Horizons Academy for High School Students Experiencing Homelessness

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Next phase of successful Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership program

County Executive Jan Gardner today announced the next phase of the New Horizons Frederick program called the New Horizons Academy. The five-week program is coordinated through the Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership, known as SHIP of Frederick County. Starting on July 1, the program will provide academic training to 60 Frederick County Public Schools students from five high schools who are experiencing homelessness.

“We live in a community that cares and has taken action to help hundreds of students,” commented Executive Gardner. “SHIP and many community partners are to be commended for giving hope and making a difference in the academic and personal lives of many students who face real life challenges.”

Through the New Horizons Academy, students will take courses at Frederick High School. Those who want employment experience will be placed in part-time jobs by the Frederick County Workforce Services’ Youth Works program. The project serves students from Catoctin, Governor Thomas Johnson, Tuscarora and Frederick High Schools, and now Walkersville High will also participate. The expansion is funded, in part, by a $40,000 Community Partnership Grant from Frederick County.

The objective of the program is to provide support and resources to help these students remain on track to graduate on time. Last week, 23 New Horizon participants graduated with high school diplomas due to the work of SHIP, FCPS and many partners.

This school year, 828 students faced the challenges of homelessness, 150 of whom had no adult caregiver. This is the first time the county has been able to estimate the number of unaccompanied youth, because Frederick County now participates in the Youth REACH Maryland survey. That survey also found that another 72 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 were unaccompanied and homeless, but not enrolled in FCPS.

Funders for New Horizons include Frederick County Government, Rotary Club of Carroll Creek, Frederick County Public Schools, The Community Foundation of Frederick County, and numerous private individuals in Frederick County who have provided items such as laptops and scholarships for the students to participate in the program.

For more information about New Horizons, contact SHIP of Frederick at 240-415-8971 or via e-mail at info@ShipFrederick.com.

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