Project ACT: supporting approximately 1,000 at-risk CMSD children and their families

Wilber Argueta stands outside the Zelma George Salvation Army Shelter, where he helped organize online tutoring for 12 homeless youth this summer (photo by Sydney Kornegay).

by Sydney Kornegay

Sylvia Rucker has been a caretaker most of her life. As the head cook at Hannah Gibbons Elementary School in Collinwood, she prepares meals for approximately 250 students daily, and has four adult children of her own.

But when her oldest daughter died unexpectedly in the summer of 2019, Rucker was suddenly thrust into the role of parent once again.

“My daughter went into the hospital with a toothache. She passed away a week later, and left behind three kids,” says Rucker. “I realized I was going to have to start all over again as a mother.”

Rucker became the primary caregiver for her five-, six-, and 11-year-old grandchildren, all while working full-time. These stresses were compounded in the spring, when COVID-19 forced schools to close and students to stay home.

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