“One of the more challenging tasks that we face is educating our homeless students. Because of the extraordinary effort and dedication of Kelly King, the district is able to do its best to meet this challenge.” –Steve Atwater, superintendent
“I am blessed with the opportunity to do what I love every day. Having the work I do be recognized at the vigil, by good friends who have the same vision … I am very humbled and just so grateful. Receiving the Knight in Shining Armor award means so much to me; I am sincerely honored.” –Kelly King, KPBSD homeless liaison.
November 7, 2013, Kelly King was awarded the Knight in Shining Armor award during a candlelight vigil for youth and family homelessness. The award is named after retired KPBSD school teachers Janiece and Nina Knight. The Knights are founders of a non-profit, Luva Child, Inc. The mission of the non-profit is to provide food, shelter and education for children at risk.
Speaking at the vigil, Sandy Miller, federal programs coordinator said, “KPBSD is proud of the support Kelly provides and is pleased she is receiving the Knight in Shining Armor award this evening. She truly is a hero. The task of the homeless liaison is not a high profile position and it does not garner a lot of attention. King doesn’t need those accolades; she truly has a heart for families and youth finding themselves in difficult times. Over the course of a year, Kelly typically supports approximately 300 students.
The real reward for Kelly is watching her clients grow and rise above their challenges. During her time as homeless liaison, Kelly has watched many of her unaccompanied youth make it through high school, graduate on time, and go on to college or enroll in vocational education.”
The KPBSD Students in Transition program has been in existence since the early 1990s. The numbers of students and families served through the program have increased each year; however the staffing to serve this population has not. KPBSD has one full-time and one part-time position to cover the majority of KPBSD needs. On average 275 – 300 individuals are provided assistance each year through the KPBSD Homeless Liaison.
Kelly King came to KPBSD in 2008. As a lifelong Kenai resident, King understands the unique characteristics of each community. She continually goes well above her job expectations to develop strong, respectful relationships with local and state agencies in order to provide the very best assistance possible for her clients.
Tim Vlasak, director of K-12 Schools, Assessment and Federal Programs reflected, “It was so nice to have this program as part of the district; in my previous school district we did not have a program such as this one. I so appreciate the opportunity to recognize a member of our team who provides essentials for students—we cover bases for K-12 students from food, to clothing, transportation, and this includes both unaccompanied youth, and families with K-12 students who are experiencing homelessness. Kelly has an ability to find a way to meet the essential needs of students with her vast community connections and the limited resources available in the district. Any opportunity we have as a school district to support our students in transition in an effort to keep students in school and on a path to providing life skills to and through graduation and beyond is valuable.”
King adds, “A special thanks to Covenant House and Dave and Debbie Michaels who help with the annual vigil for homelessness, work in the KPBSD, and are advocates in the community.”