Oklahoma City School For Homeless Children Begins Fundraising For New Building

Garrett Davis

A elementary school for homeless children in Oklahoma City has recently started a campaign in order to raise funds for a new school building.

Positive Tomorrows is the nation’s only private, tuition-free elementary school serving only homeless children, according to their website. Although the school has been around for 25 years, they have since outgrown their location near 16th Street in the metro and plan to relocate to a new building near the Oklahoma fairgrounds.

Susan Agel, president and principal of Positive Tomorrows, started the campaign just this February. “We plan to double in size,” Agel said. “We’re basically right now at the beginning of the formal campaign. We really feel like what we have going here could be be a national model for working with children in poverty.”

Their current fundraising goal for a completely renovated building is $10.2 million. Since they are a private institution due to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which deemed the school illegitimate due to its segregation of students through their living statuses, they rely solely on public donations and grants. Agel is currently lobbying Oklahoma legislators for additional funding.

Dan Straughan, executive director of The Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City, has worked with Susan for a number of years by funnelling homeless children into her program. He believes Positive Tomorrows is a catalyst for the end of homelessness.

“One of the ways a community can end homelessness is breaking the cycle of generational poverty,” Straughan said. “All of the academic research shows that really the only thing that is effective at breaking the cycle…is education.”

As Positive Tomorrows continues its daily operations, Agel plans to work until early next year in order to achieve her fundraising goal.

“You always want to have a vision for where you’re going,” Agel said. “If you stop and you’re just maintaining, things start to…fall into disarray.”