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ONLY ON 3: Homeless high school student raising awareness about problem many face

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With graduation approaching, high school seniors are working on their final projects. A Wilmington girl’s project hits close to home… or her lack thereof.

“It’s not what you wear or what you eat or where you live, it’s about how you act about the situation that you’re in,” Angela Giacoman said.

Giacoman’s situation is very different than many of her classmates at Mosely Performance Learning Center. She’s been homeless on and off for the last five years, because of a host of family problems. Her current address is the Salvation Army.

Giacoman decided to focus her senior project on improving the services already in place for homeless students. The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law that provides funding for the homeless. Giacoman says while it does help, she thinks more can be done for teens like her.

“They don’t have ways to stay after school or resources to pay for projects or things like that,” Giacoman said. “I really want it to change, so that it says that they get better equal education opportunities.”

New Hanover County Schools social worker Amy Hand said many resources are available, but communication is lacking.

“I think where we could improve is on the identification of these families and making sure that the people that need these services are getting them,” Hand said.

Hand said the McKinney-Vento Act serves more than 650 students in the county. She said many more are likely ashamed to come forward, but Giacoman said the key is to ignore negative people. Her advice is never give up.

“Don’t drop out of school. Don’t. Don’t drop out of school,” Giacoman said. “I am 19 years old, and I’m graduating in 13 days. Had I dropped out of school, I would be homeless, and I wouldn’t have a job. Then I really wouldn’t know what to do.”

Giacoman says she plans to enroll in Cape Fear Community College’s Marine Technology program after graduation. She is excited about getting a job and getting into a more stable lifestyle.

More: continued here

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