Women of St. Michael Provides Meals for Homeless Children at Kids' University

More than 300 students participated in two sessions of Kids' University this summer.

Empty bellies were not a concern for more than 300 homeless children who came to campus this summer to learn about math, science and engineering. Their tummies were full, thanks to the Women of St. Michael, a small group making a big impact on Kids' University, two one-week camps at UT Dallas that encourage local homeless youths to make college dreams a reality.

"The Women of St. Michael give funding to meet our most basic need for the program: food," said Dr. George W. Fair, founder of the program, vice president for Diversity and Community Engagement, and professor and dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies.

"Simply put, homeless children are hungry. Without meeting this basic need, they can't concentrate to take advantage of what education can offer them."

Twenty years ago, UT Dallas developed Kids' University in partnership with Rainbow Days, a Dallas nonprofit that offers services to provide children with skills to make healthy choices and stay drug-free. Classes at the day camp included science and computers, which were developed and taught by partners from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Home Depot, Frito-Lay and Cranium Kids and other agencies.

The Women of St. Michael, a group from the St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, has supported the day camp for the past three years. The group raises funds for nonprofits through events and sales at the St. Michael Woman's Exchange, a specialty gift shop in Highland Park Village.

Staffed almost exclusively by volunteers, the shop contributes its annual proceeds to the Women of St. Michael gifts committee.

"By helping to feed children attending Kids' University, we not only provide food for the needy, but also help to prepare the children for future financial stability by encouraging them to get an education," said Kathy Jenevein, chair of the group's gifts committee.

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