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FARMINGTON — Gail Miller remembers what it was like growing up in a household that had "a lot of kids and very little money."
She told a story about when her father was selling home improvement items and let her use the leftover scraps from some drapes she had made.
"When I got the extra material, I made myself a skirt and a top with a big flower on the skirt and a big flower on the top and went to school and then thought, 'That's great,'" Miller said. "That's how desperate it was in our family... So poverty is something I can identify with."
In part due to her experience with poverty, Miller was at the Davis School District board meeting on Tuesday to announce that the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation would be partnering with the Huntsman Foundation to donate $1 million to further the construction of teen resource centers in the district.
The centers will provide resources for at-risk students in need, including those experiencing homelessness — 1,300 students in the Davis School District — with a safe place to shower, launder clothing, access basic essentials, eat and work one-on-one with counselors.
The first center opened at Clearfield High School in April 2021, followed by the opening of the Northridge High School Teen Resource Center in August, the second in the district.
"The impetus behind these centers was to close the gap, to remove barriers to students so that they can be academically and socially successful in school so that we prepare them for the next endeavor in post-secondary (education) or in a work situation," said Davis Education Foundation Executive Director Jodi Lunt.
Lunt called the issue of homelessness and housing insecurity a "silent but pervasive problem."
David Huntsman, president of the Huntsman Foundation, said that he didn't view the $1 million dollars as a donation, but as an investment.
"If we can invest in certain aspects that help them get on their feet and become stable and go forward, that will make all the difference in the end," Huntsman said. "We see it as helping provide (for) them today so they can go forward and make great contributions to society in the long run."
Four other teen centers are under construction throughout Davis School District, with funds currently being raised for two additional centers.
Miller said the fact that the district has these centers for teens tells her that "they're accepted."
"They are embraced by the community and that teens have the opportunity to be in school," Miller said. "I'm really excited and pleased that Davis County has come up with this and has put it into life and given teens an opportunity to have the things they need, just to live."
Lunt said later this fall, the district will be breaking ground on an 8,000-square-foot, 16-bed teen resource center that will offer overnight and long-term residence and resource opportunities for students experiencing homelessness.
"What Davis County is doing now really needs to become the model for every county throughout the state to follow," Huntsman said. "They're doing it right, they're making the proper investments."