Teacher John Green and Assistant Principal Matt Steinecke took 55 freshman students to take part in San Francisco’s Project Homeless Connect put on by Mayor Gavin Newsom on Dec. 8.
“I really feel like we got them to where they need to go,” freshman Johnathan Dunn said.
Project Homeless Connect is an event created by Newsom where the community gets together with the homeless to show them that they are cared about and can receive help. At the event, students directed the homeless to many different stations that provide them services including haircuts, legal advice, phone cards, eye glasses, food, and even voice-mail messages.
Project Homeless Connect partners more than 1,000 volunteers with government agencies, nonprofits and private sectors to help unfortunate people gain health and human services that otherwise might take them over eight months to receive.
“I really wished students were able to more appreciate what they have and will remember to help those less fortunate,” Steinecke stated when asked what he wanted the students to learn from this experience.
Students who took part in the project were able to see how hard it is to be homeless and experience what it is like to live a completely different life. By having the chance to help those unable to help themselves, students had the ability to give people a chance at a better life and re-evaluate the lives they lead.
Project Homeless Connect is a great success to the people of San Francisco. In the five years that it has been put on, over 31,000 homeless and poor people of San Francisco have been helped in ways that they before had no chance to be.
“It would be good to have something like this in any city with high homeless populations,” Dunn expressed after partaking in the event.
It is uncertain whether Green will take students again next year. However, the impact on the students who went this year is tremendous. Many freshmen expressed a feeling of extreme gratitude for what they never knew was needed by so many: a warm and loving home.
“Homeless people have a hard time surviving in this world and I would go next year if I had the opportunity,” Dunn stated.
The event even had strong influence on the teachers and staff who attended to help those unfortunate people.
“I took part to be with the kids and help Mr. Green. I really didn’t know what to expect. It turned out to be a great day that I was proud to be a part of,” expressed Steinecke.