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Two Rivers Carnival addresses the issue of homelessness among students

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jul 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-20 11:24:19-04

TWO RIVERS (NBC 26) — The first ever Two Rivers Back to School Carnival will be held at the gymnasium in the community house this weekend tackling the issue of homelessness.

Two Rivers Senior Center Supervisor, Heather Ihlenfeldt, was a key organizer for the event.

"We learned that there are at least 50 children that have told the school that they have trouble with a stable home environment or consider themselves homeless", Ihlenfeldt said.

Although a staggering number, Two Rivers School District Director of Learning and Instruction, Kyle Korinek says homelessness doesn't necessarily mean sleeping in the streets.

"It could be someone that's couch surfing so one night they're at this friend's house the next night they're at another friend's house", Korinek said. "They don't have that permanent residency."

When Korinek learned of the issue, he decided to pass the word along.

"That really opened the eyes of the folks at the Senior Center", Korinek said. "They said 'How can we help? What can we do?'."

So the idea of the carnival was born.

"If we can just take one barrier away from those families so that they don't have to make the decision between school supplies and getting to work with their vehicle, they can fill their car up with gas, boy let's do that", Korinek said.

Although geared towards families in need the event, happening from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. Saturday, is for everyone.

"We don't even care if you just want to come and have a good time and play some games. That's fine too", says Ihlenfeldt. "You don't have to take the school supplies but they're there for you. "

The issue of unhoused youth is heartbreaking but Korinek says helping is his passion.'

"We get into this work because we have a calling to help children, a calling to help young adults, and a calling to help our community", he said.

Although the school did find that 56 students were unhoused, they believe it could be almost triple that number.