While we live in a relatively affluent community, the homeless population is rapidly growing. There are over 150 kids in the school district who are either homeless or living below the poverty line. We want to provide them with upcycled mats and toiletry kits while also letting them know that they have peer support and are visible to us-- all too often these are the kids who are unseen. It's time for that to end. We want them to valued and important. We want to ask them their names and create relationships. We hope that by raising community awareness and addressing community fears, we can come together to find solutions.
As part of our campaign, we will be contributing time to the weekly bbqs near the train tracks where many live in one of 2 tent cities. We will offer the mats for sitting (there's so much mud from intense weather) and the seed kits for planting in the community garden near the shelter. We will engage in conversation starting with, "What's your name?" We know that homeless people are rarely asked this basic human question. We will track how many people we connect with, creating humanity within our community. Having learned mapping at ESRI when I was with the NYLC, I am planning to show my group other homeless communities in the Capitol region that we need to reach out to. We will also create relationships with the youth by gardening together.