Teacher Helps Bring 'Family Promise' to the Basin

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- At Austin-Montessori, education is like a symphony and teacher Randy McGuire is more like a conductor leading children as they take on new tasks and embrace learning with all their senses.

"I wanted to make a difference. I don't think I had really great male teachers when I was growing up and I wanted to be a positive influence in their lives." Randy McGuire said he left a government job for the classroom eleven years ago.

The curriculum is designed to teach students to make good choices, to develop social skills, and to learn about the world beyond the classroom.

"I've been educating the class this year on what homelessness really is. They're beginning to understand that this segment of the population is their neighbors, friends, and relatives," McGuire says the rate of homelessness is startling.

McGuire is now orchestrating a new mission bringing a national program "Family Promise" to Odessa. McGuire says there is now a network of churches here in the basin that can house families for a week at a time before the families move onto a new shelter.

"What really got me going last year is I found out we had 482 hundred children as identified as being homeless in Ector County. That was last year and this spring the numbers have gone up to 675 students," McGuire said.

McGuire says 80 percent of families who enter the program nationally get the help they need and McGuire hopes by helping families he will help the homeless children in E.C.I.S.D. Schools.

"When you don't know where you're going, what you're going to have to eat, who you're going to be staying with at night, it becomes very difficult to focus, and learn at school."

McGuire says the program may be up and running by the end of the summer.