The only thing we consider when we think of the nation’s school drop-out rate is a failing education system. But there’s a larger story in the lives of these students. A lot of them have responsibilities that far exceed the importance of an education…their parents.
An epidemic happening throughout the U.S. has been silently claiming the educational lives of its students. A lot of students go home every day and care for a parent. Their parents are ill, aging, and/or disabled and have no other way to receive care, but through their children.
CNN Heroes focuses on the community’s caregivers that make a difference in the lives of others without any accolades or fan fair. They are now focusing on Connie Siskowski who founded the American Association of Caregiving Youth to help the “estimated 10,000 youth caregivers living in Palm Beach County, Florida.” Her nonprofit began in 2002, and has provided support to more than 500 of the area’s youth. She told CNN:
“No child in the United States should have to drop out of school because of caregiving,” said Siskowski, 65. “These children suffer silently behind closed doors. … They don’t have the help and the support and the recognition that they need.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation performed a study in 2006, that showed that 22% of the nation’s dropouts were child caregivers that left school to care for a parent. This is a population that silently suffers that many of us never knew existed.
Check out their story.