In this project we discussed the issue of homelessness and poverty to encourage students to develop empathy and to see the world from different perspectives. Students took a closer look at the underlying issues of homelessness. 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 and developed a better understanding through community service. Students created change with public service announcements, demonstrations holding cardboard signs with facts and statistics, and the creation and implementation of community food pantries.
We saw a tremendous shift in our students’ 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 to help the homeless population in our community gain access to much needed resources.
This project was based on empathy and 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.
The campout made me realize that the homeless live 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.
I had seen some homeless people in the park in Escondido but it was drastically different to see the camps downtown.