What impact can I have to positively influence my community?
How does stereotyping and making assumptions impact ourselves and others?
What is equity?
What populations are affected most by homelessness?
What are the underlying issues to homelessness?
In this project, we discussed the issue of homelessness and poverty to encourage our students to develop their sense of empathy and to see the world from different perspectives. Students took a closer look at the underlying issues of homelessness. Topics such as how easy it is to go from the lives we know to struggling for the basic requirements of life. We examined the issues of resource availability, equity, and access. We grappled with questions about over represented populations. Students took a hard look at their own biases and misconceptions then developed a better understanding through community service. Students created change by spreading awareness with public service announcements, demonstrations holding cardboard signs with facts and statistics, and the creation and implementation of community food pantries.
This was a very impactful project for both of us because we saw a tremendous shift in our students’ own thinking and perceptions about what it means to be homeless. Throughout the process it was evident that students were growing as empathetic individuals who wanted to create change in their local community. Each student worked in our local community to help the homeless population gain access to much needed resources.
“This project was based on empathy. Anyone who had the privilege to be a part of it and doesn’t feel that they made an impact on other’s lives must not have had the experience that many of us did. This project helped us see how the other half of the world lives, and that we can do so much to change the world if only we try.” – Emersyn
“I didn’t know much about the homeless population until we did this project” – Pablo
“The campout made me realize that they’ve been living in harsh conditions, like cold, rain, and hard places to sleep. Having to build our own shelters helped me understand because ours fell down in the middle of the night.” – Ashby