Advertisement

Students experience 'homelessness'

Students and their chaperones spent the night in cardboard boxes.

Students and their chaperones spent the night in cardboard boxes.

November 10, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK - It was quite a night for 30 students and their chaperones on Halloween night as they learned that being homeless is no fun.

"It was a very rewarding experience for all who were involved," said Larry Smith, vice principal of Hancock Middle-Senior High School.

For the fifth year, the students met in the parking lot of the Interfaith Service Coalition at 116 High St. for this event. They set up cardboard boxes to sleep in, chairs to sit in and barrels in which fires burned to keep them warm.

Advertisement

Debbie Cohill, executive director of the Interfaith Service Coalition, helped coordinate the event and took pictures to commemorate the project.

From 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., the students called the cardboard boxes "home." Throughout the night, the students in grades six through 12 kept hourly journals containing reflections on their experiences.

"It's a testament to the desire of these kids not just to be part of their community but to shape it as well," Smith said.

Smith introduced the concept he experienced in Allegany County schools to Hancock in 1999.

Jenae Trail, a Hancock senior who participated in the first sleepout as an eighth-grader, was unable to be a part of this year's project.

But she said she was thinking about her classmates, especially those who were experiencing the event for the first time.

"I admit I signed up the first time because I found out you could skip the next day of classes," Jenae said by telephone.

Then she realized what the homeless face.

The students were 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.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|