Students to experience what it is like to be homeless

October 14, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK - On a night when many young people will be having fun celebrating Halloween, a group of 25 students from Hancock Middle-Senior High School plans to experience firsthand that it's no fun living as a homeless person.

"It's the fifth year for this event," said Debbie Cohill, executive director of the Interfaith Service Coalition.

On Monday, Oct. 31, the students will meet in the coalition parking lot at 116 High St. in Hancock. From 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., they will call cardboard boxes "home."

Throughout the night, the students in grades 6-12 will keep hourly journals containing reflections on their experiences.

"It's a really exciting project," said Larry Smith, Hancock Middle-Senior High vice principal, who introduced the concept he experienced in Allegany County schools. "These kids will be turning their compassion for their community into action."


Jenae Trail, a Hancock senior who participated in the first sleepout as an eighth-grader, will participate again this year.

"We realize in this experience how much many of us take for granted," Trail said. "We have a responsibility as students to help others in our community."

The students will be accompanied through the night by members of the Hancock Police Department, Maryland State Police, St. Thomas' Episcopal Church and Interfaith Service Coalition.

Interfaith Service Coalition is a human services agency that supports the community of Hancock through emergency assistance with housing, food, furniture and other basic needs.

For more information on the sleepout or the coalition, call 301-678-6605.

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