Ark Project STOCK

The ARK Project has resources available to homeless teens to help them stay and finish school and meet other needs they may have.

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COOS BAY — The At Risk Kids Project has opened a second location for the first time.

Just for the summer, ARK has a satellite office at Madison Elementary, located at 400 Madison St. in Coos Bay. The move was prompted after Principal Janice Schock sought for ARK to open an extension at her school, according to ARK Program Manager Melinda Torres.

“Janice pushed for us to be here because she thought it’d be a great addition to the summer program,” Torres said. “We’re lucky she reached out to us to make this possible.”

The ARK’s Madison location is only open on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., which is also when the school library and garden is open, and when kids can get free lunch.

The Harding location is still open this summer on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“Since a lot of the families and youth we serve live over here, it made sense to grow out here,” Torres said. “It’s a lot to get over to the Fred Meyer area, especially when gas is this expensive. We want to make it more convenient for families and better serve our community.”

Lisa DeSalvio works as the special programs director for the Coos Bay School District and said that this is also the poverty area in the district, where over 80 percent of students are on free and reduced lunch.

“Hopefully we can access them over here,” she said.

Not only that, but Torres said the Madison location means some of their clients are close enough to walk.

The new site is in a Title 1 room, which they will only use for the summer. It’s not clear if the site will continue on into the school year.

Right now the site has a small selection of boys and girls clothes for kids, underwear and socks for children, pads, blankets, snacks, emergency food boxes that are ready to go, and hygiene packs.

“We’re limited, but for the most part we have anything they need right away,” said Barbara Green, ARK Education Assistant. “If they need something else, we can make arrangements.”

“This is something we’ve been needing to do, more outreach,” she said. “The whole goal is to reach as many families as we can. This is a small step, but hopefully will be a success.”

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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