Filling in the Gaps with Dignity: An Honest Back to School Message from a Former High School Teacher

As the new school year approaches, I give thought to the returning students. The truth is that there are students with needs we can help fulfill. How can we help? The why we help is as important as the how.

We know that some students have gaps that we can stand in, either in supplies or heart. But we must not draw attention to those gaps! Students with gaps are painfully aware of them, and tend to feel that those gaps set them apart. Belonging, being a part of – not different – is very important to them. We know they are there, we know how to help. We must be sure that we do not jeopardize the recipient’s dignity.

I have worked at many schools and have had personal experiences with students and their needs. I’m happy to report the staff at those schools are wonderful at behind the scenes work toward meeting those needs. I knew students who were homeless but nevertheless continued attending school, knowing school was a part of their road to success. I had the privilege to have students come to me with their needs, a real act of trust on their part. I provided some small needs, in the background.

I was not alone in this endeavor. I know of many school staff who keep food, lunch makings, breakfast etc. in their rooms and allow those students to come eat breakfast, or make their lunch, put it in a lunch sack and walk with dignity into the lunch room, knowing that no one in the lunchroom knows where their lunch came from. This is vital to the trust these students put in us. They learn to trust us and they share with others that we can be trusted.

This is an example of filling the gap with dignity. Other students needed time, to process tears before going to class. Many, many staff members are filling this need every day, to me this is grace. None of these staff members will identify themselves or the students who come for assistance. You won’t hear these stories from the staff members.

This is again filling the gap with dignity. This is showing these students the love and hope there is in the world.

If we want to be of service, to fill the gap, we must do so quietly. We must be sure of our own motives. If we truly want to fill that gap to be of genuine service, we call no attention to our service! We do it quietly, in private or anonymously, allowing the recipient to receive it with dignity.

No flashing signs. To boast violates the recipient and ourselves.

If you want to be of service, to give, do it out of the limelight. Do it from the calm heart that knows giving is a special connection. It’s not about us, it’s about the recipient. We CAN stand in the gap with love.

So go be of service, give freely, knowing that although the recipient may not know you, you’ve shown them the love the world has to offer.

It is very easy, donate to Journey to Dream, who is quietly filling the gap for teens in Denton County.

I remain anonymous, in the spirit of service.

Nonprofit a Refuge for Homeless D-FW Teens

Kyle's Place, a new nonprofit shelter dedicated for homeless teens, is fighting for youths who often slip through the cracks of government oversight and private attempts to help them.

"There are essentially two kinds of cases we deal with," said Christy Daniel, program and clinic coordinator for Journey to Dream, the nonprofit behind Kyle's Place in Lewisville. "Unaccompanied youth, who have been essentially abandoned by their parents but haven't been picked up by [Child Protective Services], and those who have been removed from their family by CPS."

Shelter Kyle’s Place Opens in Lewisville for Homeless Teens

There are more than 2,000 students from kindergarten to high school who are homeless throughout Denton County. Kyle’s Place aims to provide shelter, support and transition help to some of the area’s homeless youth.

Nonprofit Journey to Dream opened Kyle’s Place at 1960 Archer Way in Lewisville on May 19. The shelter can provide beds and other accommodations for 14 students of high school age at a time.

“We don’t have anything in Denton County for kiddos, for teenagers,” Executive Director and Founder Kim Hinkle said. “Most of them don’t identify as homeless. They won’t say they’re homeless. They kind of sofa surf.”

Shelter Opens in Lewisville for Homeless Teens

There are more than 2,000 students from kindergarten to high school who are homeless throughout Denton County. Kyle’s Place aims to provide shelter, support and transition help to some of the area’s homeless youth.

Nonprofit Journey to Dream opened Kyle’s Place at 1960 Archer Way in Lewisville on May 19. The shelter can provide beds and other accommodations for 14 students of high school age at a time.

Lewisville's Kyle’s Place to Celebrate Grand Opening

It was more than three years in the making, but now officials are ready to open the doors to Denton County’s new teen homeless shelter.

Kyle’s Place will have its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, May 19 at the facility, 1960 Archer Way. The event is the community’s first chance to see the completed site. The building was fully renovated, including a new HVAC, roof and kitchen.

“We have seen an increase in homeless youth over the last four years and recognized the critical problem of kids aging out of foster care and becoming homeless,” said Kim Hinkle, co-founder and executive director of Journey to Dream the nonprofit behind Kyle’s Place. “We will make a dent, but there is still so much more to do.”

Kyle’s Place Gives Homeless Youth Hope

Each day, there are approximately 2,000 kids on the street in Denton County; 400 of those are high school students.

Homeless teens– whether running away or asked to leave, aging out of foster care or unable to stay at family shelters– need a safe environment, food, clothing, medical care and supportive services just to begin regaining stability. Many unaccompanied youth have experienced life on the street and the trauma that goes along with it.

Shelter for Homeless Teens to be a First in Denton County

Most teens in Denton County have a place to call home. But for hundreds of others, a life on the streets often leads to fear and depression.

That will change this summer.

"Today is the day we closed on the building," said Kim Hinkle, co-founder of Journey to Dream, a non-profit that aims to help teens affected by destructive behaviors. "So, it's officially ours."

Hinkle will open the doors to a new shelter on Archer Way in northwest Lewisville this summer.

Nonprofit to Open Teen Homeless Shelter in Lewisville

Kim Hinkle wants to offer homeless teens a safe place to stay, and she has chosen Lewisville as the place to do it.

Hinkle, co-founder and executive director of Journey to Dream, will lead a team of people in running Kyle’s Place. The youth home is set to open in the summer. It will provide emergency shelter and 24-hour care for teens 13 to 18 years old, regardless of why they are homeless. 

“When we started thinking about this in 2013, Lewisville was the first city in Denton County to come to us and express an interest in making this happen,” Hinkle said. “It’s neat to be here and see it come full circle.”