A young girl in a shelter wrote in her composition, "Give me a chance to make it through this time of trouble……."

Project Access is School District U-46’s Homeless Education Program. Federal and State law mandates that every school district in the nation appoint a Homeless Liaison to recruit and service homeless students in their district. School District U-46 has taken this one step further and created a program named Project Access. Project Access was started in 1995 and identified 96 students. Last year Project Access identified and serviced over 725 homeless students.

The Project Access mission is to:

that the homeless students are identified by school personnel;

school supplies, including backpacks and/or uniforms to each child;

and insure that homeless children in the district will not feel stigmatized due to their homeless status;

and coordinate efforts with local community agencies to provide basic needs and services for homeless students and families, including medical, vision and dental care on a limited basis;

district transportation and external resources are available to take students to and from school as needed;

Project Access - through School District U46- was set up to provide educational stability and remove barriers so all students have every opportunity for educational success. By its own words, the program “strives to keep the students in one school, and offer any and every educational support it can.” Students are eligible to receive assistance with Free Lunch/ Fee waivers, participation in sports, preschool programs, special education programs, school supplies, uniforms, gym shoes, personal care items, coats, boots, tutoring, transportation to stay at their school of origin if they move outside the schools attendance area, and various other needs. So much more is needed to support these students that the school system cannot provide; things that are often taken for granted. This program will not succeed without the communities support. Proceeds from the run will go to support “Project Access.”

The Fight against Poverty Begins with Education

  • Accomplishments include:

    • Provided parenting programs to empower parents/families to become more involved in their children's education.
    • Through donations, provided food to over 60 families for Thanksgiving and organized and distributed holiday gifts for over 500 homeless students.
    • Organized and facilitated a "back to school fair" for Project Access students/families where students were provided a backpack and school supplies, school uniforms, gym shoes, underwear, basic needs and a haircut.
    • Provided eye glasses for 23 students.
    • Have enrolled and served over 725 students experiencing homelessness so far this school year.
    • And more…

For more information about Project Access, please contact:

Maggie Schroeder – Project Access Coordinator


phone: 847-888-5000 x 6765

Patricia Briones – Project Access Coordinator (bilingual)


phone: 847-888-5000 x 6768

Consider making a financial contribution to support Project Access students. 100% of funds donated to Project Access go directly to students experiencing homelessness. These funds are used exclusively for needs that students and families have that there are no other resources such as replacement birth certificates, band/orchestra instruments & band field trips/extracurricular activities, senior activities, clothing and equipment for school sports, Tier 3 MTSS supports for families, etc. These funds are tracked through individual forms filled out for each expense and submitted to the U-46 Financial department. No donated money is ever used for administrative costs.