On today's show, Ethan joins Chris Cecil at Pacifica High School's Senior Adopt a Child Day.The number of homeless young people — students in schools and their siblings— seems to be growing. California remains the state with the highest population of people experiencing homelessness overall and the highest number of unaccompanied homeless youth, according to the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Los Angeles County is home to nearly 20 percent of the state’s unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. 20 - 43% are in families, typically headed by a single mom. 27% of children have lived in foster care or a group home.
For many families with children living in deep poverty, episodes of homelessness are part of a cycle of housing instability that includes living in precarious housing that is unaffordable and/or unsafe, involuntary moves, and doubling up with family or friends.Children who have experienced homelessness and frequently changed schools tend to fall behind.
This brings us today’s interview. Ethan had the opportunity to talk with Chris Cecil, who a lot of you may know as Darth Maul of the 501st Legion, a professional Star Wars costuming group active in charity events throughout the year.
But many more know him as Lt. Christopher Cecil, U.S. Navy Retired, and Senior Naval Science Instructor at Garden Grove’s Pacifica High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training. He has been in this position since 2015. The JROTC is a program offered to high schools that teaches students character education, student achievement, wellness, leadership, and diversity.
In addition to volunteering at the annual Combat Radio Christmas Event, this group launched the “Adopt a Child” program where Pacifica High School Seniors paired up with kindergarteners from Simmons, Heritage, Russell, Newhope, Eisenhower, and Clinton Elementary Schools for a fun-filled day that included gifts, face painting, train rides, and appearances from Santa Clause, Elmo, Tigger, and visitors from a galaxy far, far away.