In just a couple of weeks, high school students across the state will be donning caps and gowns as they pass the milestone of graduation. A special needs student in New Haven needs help getting there. 

The student, whose name has not been provided due to his severe learning and processing disabilities, was living with a friend and his family, but they were recently evicted from their home and can no longer care for him, according to Lindsay Kaye, the organizer of a GoFundMe campaign to help the student. 

Kaye, a Special Education teacher at a New Haven high school for underprivileged students, has been helping the student with money out of her own pocket. But as the student’s situation has grown more urgent, she started the fundraiser to help take care of his material needs, and acquire a replacement social security card and birth certificate, while she tries to get him into a stable living situation. 

“I was helping him out before, but again, it was manageable, it was little expenses here and there, and we worked with our school social worker to reach out [and get] his name on the list for shelters, but there hasn’t been a bed available yet, so I just wanted to make sure he had a place to sleep each night, and so we’ve been right now putting up in a motel.”

Even with his struggles, however, the student has remained committed to his education.

“He still logged in every single day for remote school, he showed up when a lot of other kids dropped off,” Kaye said. “When the [friend] he was living with didn’t bother showing up for school, he would come to school. This kid just kept showing up and there really was no one else for him.”

While the short-term goal is to help the student make it to graduation, long-term, Kaye hopes to get him enrolled in a job program called Job Corps that offers free education and vocational training and also has support for students that are in special education.

“It would be a really good place for him as they help students get their driver’s license, they can live on campus, meals are provided, and they do get a stipend of some kind. They can work while they’re taking classes, and they have access to take college classes,” Kaye said.

Created just six days ago, with a goal of $2000, the GoFundMe has raised about $1500 to help the student. The response has meant a lot to Kaye.

“No one wants to have to put out there for money, “even a couple of thousand dollars extra,” Kaye said. “I’m amazed, I didn’t think I was really gonna get anything, and it’s been incredibly heartwarming.”

“The world is a tough place right now for everyone, so anything that anyone can give or share is incredibly appreciated. I don’t take it for granted at all.”

If you would like to contribute, you can access the GoFundMe by clicking here.

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Tom Hopkins wrote for CII from April 2022 to February 2023. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist.

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