Losing preschool for homeless children would be senseless

July 20, 2011

"Senseless" would be another appropriate word for your "letter of the day" if our community permits the closure of the Ark ("Preschool for homeless children losing its home" July 13). As the only accredited preschool for homeless kids in Baltimore, the Ark gives children in unstable environments the opportunity to prepare for school and parents the chance to get back to work. Losing this resource would undercut two true solutions to homelessness.

In my work with homeless and at-risk children over the past two decades, it's clear that those in stable and nurturing educational environments demonstrate greater social interaction and markedly improved health status than those without such supports. We'd be wise to protect and expand such opportunities.

"Sesame Street" is a fitting metaphor for the predicament faced by the Ark. On the show, the neighborhood always comes together to solve a problem, whether helping Bert find his lost pigeons or giving Elmo the confidence to step in for Super Grover. Let's hope that Greater Baltimore comes together to find a new home for the Ark and keep this essential resource available for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Lisa Stambolis, Baltimore

The writer is director of the Pediatric and Adolescent Clinic at Health Care for the Homeless.

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