Today is National Homeless Awareness Day in Rhode Island. Generation Citizen Students Made It Happen!
“We, the students of DelSesto Middle School, are writing this letter to ask for your support concerning homeless awareness. Our goal is to motivate the General Assembly to officially create an Annual Homeless Awareness Day for the state of Rhode Island.”
Thanks Mr. Connole’s class at Del Sesto Middle School, November 2 is officially Homeless Awareness Day in Rhode Island! For their Generation Citizen project last spring, the students chose to research the issue of homelessness in their local community—reading Providence Journal articles and press releases from the General Assembly, and inviting formerly homeless individuals to come speak with them through the Speakers Bureau of the RI Coalition for the Homeless. “They helped us realize that nobody chooses to be homeless, and that it’s important not to judge people who are homeless,” one student explained. “We wanted to make sure our representatives knew that we care about this because people don’t always realize that kids care about big issues.”
“They helped us realize that nobody chooses to be homeless, and that it’s important not to judge people who are homeless,” one student explained. “We wanted to make sure our representatives knew that we care about this because people don’t always realize that kids care about big issues.”
Determined to draw more attention to the issue, the students reached out to a broad range of elected officials urging them to prioritize raising public awareness about homelessness. They sent letters and emails, made phone calls, and collected pages of signatures from their peers to demonstrate support for their proposal: dedicate an official day to the issue of homelessness. As a result of their advocacy, State Senator Frank Ciccone called the class in April to tell them he was planning to sponsor a resolution naming November 2, 2016 “Homeless Awareness Day.”
The students know that there’s still plenty of work to be done, but they’re proud of what they accomplished: “Obviously the problem isn’t over. But because of what we did, hopefully, people will realize that homelessness is a big problem and that we care about trying to fix it.”