ASD’s “Rooster” retires after three decades of service to families experiencing homelessness

Written by on June 17, 2020

ASD’s “Rooster” retires after three decades of service to families experiencing homelessness

By Chloe Nouvelle

June 17, 2020

For 34 years, Russell Valentini, the man Allentown knows as Rooster, has been the one person families could turn to. When landlords locked them out, when shelters were full and when there was no cash left to pay for dinner.

As now, as WLVR’s Chloe Nouvelle reports, the Rooster is retiring.

“I am just so honored and humbled to have been able to be in the lives of these folks that I didn’t even know existed.”

Rooster is a retiring homeless liaison for the Allentown school district. He says although many times the work was sad and disturbing, the blessings far outweighed the challenges. 

Allentown is home to Pennsylvania’s third largest school district, and sees hundreds of homeless kids every year. Superintendent Thomas Parker says Rooster really made an impact.

“I see parents or students who are waiting to see Rooster. They don’t want to see Superintendent Parker. They don’t want to see the person at the front desk. They are here to see Rooster because they believe and have faith that he is the person that’s going to be there to support them through whatever trial and tribulation that they’re having.”

The school district is currently looking for someone to take on Rooster’s role. And hope to have someone in place by the fall.

As for Rooster’s next steps – he says he wants to continue his work – but isn’t sure what form that will take just yet. 

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