Many UMBC students find or create opportunities to learn about the challenges facing homeless people through service placements or participation in an Alternative School Break trip. Now Charlie Rubenstein, one of the first students to take the course on social change I co-teach each fall, is working on a plan to get many more college and high school students involved in a large-scale event that will teach about and call attention to homelessness.
Charlie stopped by today to tell me about Baltimore Sleeps Out, a program he is developing with Catholic Charities of Baltimore, the Maryland Food Bank and Jobs Housing Recovery Baltimore. The idea is to have at least 3,419 people spend the night in a local park, learning together about homelessness and building momentum for solutions. Each attendee would be challenged to raise $100 in advance in order to participate, with the money going to support programs that serve and support homeless people.
Charlie envisions the event in the park as a sort of interactive museum of knowledge about homelessness. Students at the various participating schools and allies at institutions around Baltimore would play a big role in mobilizing support and creating programs leading up to the big event, which will take place on October 9, 2010.
More to come as Charlie builds his network and firms up plans . . .