People tend to shrug off or even blame the homeless population in Humboldt County for thieir , but many were born into the situation or could not avoid it due to mental illnesses and, therefore, deserve a chance to create a better life for themselves. One in four students at Arcata High School do not know where they will get their next meal. Some students have begun to take action against this issue by creating a group that would promote awareness of the poverty present on our campus and support the county-wide organizations that are working to prevent homelessness on a larger scale.
Mona Brown and I created the Homeless Outreach group as a subcommittee of the Sources of Strength program that is very prominent on our campus. She stated, “My hope is to make an impact on the people both in our school and in the community.” Beginning with simple volunteer work to support larger organizations and then fundraising to provide food and activities for the homeless population on our campus, the group is taking strides towards change. The group began with the idea of picking fallen fruit from the fall fruit trees that were not being used and would have gone to waste and donated them to homeless shelters and organizations throughout the county. This idea soon developed into a club looking to expand their services to this cause. Mona clarified that the club wants to “make sure that the kids on campus always have… good food that they can access and good clothes and shoes”. Eileen Klima, the crisis counselor, was an integral part of establishing the group. She emphasized the importance of the club to make sure “Students know and the community knows that there is a place that really does care where anybody can feel cared about and loved.”
The club welcomes anyone who wants to join with any level of participation. Simply listen to the bulletin for a notice and come to the Principal’s Conference Room to help out! As Klima established, “There is no better feeling than helping each other.”