Homelessness spotlighted at Centre
RELEASED: Nov. 10, 2005
DANVILLE, KYCentre College will host a special educational presentation entitled "Faces of Homelessness" on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. in Young Hall room 101. The event is one of several that mark National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (Nov. 13-19).
Part of the Faces of Homelessness Speakers' Bureau program of the Washington-based National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), the speakers' bureau is comprised of people who are or have been homeless, and it works to educate the public about homelessness and what can be done to end it. This unique program establishes a significant platform for the homeless to talk personally about their experiences. The speakers' bureau creates opportunities for members to advocate for themselves and others, as well as build the necessary bridges with the rest of society to eventually end homelessness.
The evening will feature a multi-media presentation about homelessness in America. Michael O'Neil from the NCH will present facts about homelessness. After the presentation, two panelists who have faced homelessness in Washington and Louisville will give first-hand accounts of their experiences. They will offer ways for people to get involved, from volunteering at shelters to influencing legislation. Finally, the panelists will take questions from the audience.
One of the panelists, David Harris, is originally from Washington, DC, and he grew up in the suburbs in Maryland. He says, "I had everything I needed and lived a comfortable, nice, soft childhood."
As an adult Harris worked entry-level jobs that provided no health insurance or sick leave. After a suffering from a stroke and congestive heart failure, he became too sick to work and lost his job. He had no savings and few resources, and family and friends tried to assist him. For a while his parents took him in and offered help, but pride made him leave, and he then became homeless.
Harris comments, "I'm still not used to being a homeless person. I get looked at like dirt–and it hurts. I may have done the same thing before I was homeless–probably so. Now, I see homeless people in a totally different light. I'm one of them. Now, I know them as human beings with distinct personalities. Some of them are even my friends."Centre students will also participate in a hunger banquet, a lunchtime fast, and they will volunteer at homeless shelters and food kitchens in Louisville.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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