NATIONALHOMELESS.ORG
Twitter Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook

Posts Tagged ‘Speakers Bureau’

NCH Spring Interns and why they’re excited to be here

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Uncategorized

NCH has the honor of working with so many talented interns each semester, read below examples of why they volunteer their time:

Sundal Ali, George Washington University ‘15

As a child, homelessness was not apparent to me. I grew up in Carrollton, TX, a small city a half hour outside downtown Dallas, where many of the social welfare issues were obscure and hidden. As a result, I came to Washington, DC with a sheltered perspective of the world. Homelessness was, and still is, running rampant in the streets of DC, home to the nation’s capital. During the day, the White House is a tourist attraction, crowded with tourists and workers but at night, the benches in front of the White House become coveted living spaces for the homeless.

For decades this grave social injustice has flourished on the streets of one of the strongest and most powerful nations in the world, and even now, not enough is being done to ensure housing for all of America’s citizens. How is it, that a nation with abundant weapons in its arsenal, enough funds in its pockets and an overwhelming number of people in its bureaucracy, cannot solve this crisis?

This paradox triggered action.

After attending a Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau panel, I was secure in my decision to apply to be an intern at the National Coalition for the Homeless. Working at NCH has shattered my sheltered perspective of our world, in a beneficial way. Because of my internship at NCH, I am more attuned to social crises, more aware of growing national concerns and most importantly, a more passionate advocate for the homeless. I am in a position where I can aid in protecting and promoting NCH’s goal to ensure the human right to housing and shelter. Devoting my time to help prevent returning veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan from becoming homeless, to help prevent more children experiencing homelessness at such a young age, to help prevent the criminalization of homeless people—  all of this, makes my time as an intern at NCH worthwhile. NCH has been working vigorously for decades to establish and protect every individual’s right to housing and shelter and I am privileged to be a part of their team to help accomplish their goal of Bringing America Home.

Jose Morales, American University ’13

I was born and raised in Bronx for ten years. Living in the New York metropolitan area exposes you to how deep the homeless crisis really is. I couldn’t go more than a block without seeing another person without a home, living off the sidewalk and any spare change. When I moved to Washington, DC two years ago to attend American University, I saw more of the same, even in neighborhoods considered the “nice” part of the District.  I was lucky enough to get out of the city ten years ago and into a permanent home, which helped me do really well in school and prepare myself for college.

Ever since the economic downturn, it’s been impossible to avoid the effects of homelessness in any major city. And I know that we can do more as citizens to help. So much of this nation’s homeless population is not comprise of the drug dealers or mentally ill, but children, students, and hard-working Americans who haven’t had a fair shake at life. I’m a junior in college now, and I truly believe that that is not better time than the present to stand up against the criminalization of homeless and poverty. I see no reason why young people from all sides of the political and socioeconomic spectrum can’t come together and put forward sensible protections for civil rights, fiscally responsible affordable housing policy, and better education of what homelessness really is outside of Hollywood’s depictions.

It’s time for my generation to stop complaining about the problems we will have to deal with. It’s time to meet them and defeat them. Homelessness is one of these challenges.

The National Coalition for the Homeless is dedicated helping everyone—especially the students of my generation and the next—get back on their feet to fulfill their potential by getting them in permanent housing and then some. And they’ve done it before. Neil, Megan, and Michael have all helped to structure and display such an impressive non-profit that stays true to its mission in a climate that has become increasingly cynical.  It’s an honor to intern here for however long, even if just to say that I am a part of the solution.

Will Hernandez, Dartmouth ’14

I decided to volunteer my time with the National Coalition for the Homeless because homelessness is an issue that is easily ignored and forgotten in this country.  This seems almost unimaginable with the recent foreclosure crisis and millions of people being homeless each year.  It is easy to ignore homeless people due to the common myth that all homeless people are in there situation due to their lack of hard-work or their bad economic decisions.

I hope to bring more awareness to this issue as well as develop a new perspective for those people who are in dire times and need any support we can muster.  I want to learn about the current homeless policies that are making a huge difference in their respective localities and learn why destructive policies are not very effective for the targeted population. So far, I have been able to research different events and programs produced by different advocacy groups and critically analyze how these events benefit the homeless populations.

As a future hopeful for a Congressional seat, I know that working with the homeless and the National Coalition will provide me with great insights on how to deal with large epidemics that are great hurting America and more importantly, to listen and learn directly from those people who are suffering the most.

Thank you to Sundal, Jose, Will (and Tessa!) for their great work this semester, and for being a part of Bringing America Home!

Students Hold Second Annual Tent City

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Speakers' Bureau, Tent Cities

Earlier this week, at George Washington University in Washington, DC the student chapter of Amnesty International hosted a sleep out to help students better understand the issues of poverty and homelessness.  NCH speaker Steve Thomas attended and gave the students a first person perspective on what it is like to sleep outside in the nation’s capital.

Read more about the event here.

FinalTentCity from The GW Hatchet on Vimeo.

D.C. Students Meet Homelessness Face-To-Face

Written by NCH Staff on . Posted in Speakers' Bureau

Each fall,Washington D.C.teems with incoming freshmen from all over the nation… Oftentimes, these students get a glimpse of homelessness for the first time as they roam the streets during their first few weeks. But for the students of Georgetown School of Nursing, Georgetown University, George Washington University, and American University, the encounter took place face-to-face. For years, the NCH’s Faces of Homelessness Speaker’s Bureau has presented to the first-year students at these universities, in the case of Georgetown, since 1989.This year, between August 24th and 29th, NCH’s Speaker’s Bureau spoke to nearly 600 incoming students at these universities, where many of the young adults were personally confronted with this issue, and given a fresh perspective on the experience of homelessness.

The Faces of Homelessness Speaker’s Bureau is one of NCH’s longest-standing and most successful programs. Through the program, panels of people who currently are or have been homeless present their personal experiences to groups of all ages and backgrounds. The Washington D.C. branch of the Bureau has been educating the public through these presentations for 15 years, and in the past 4 years NCH Speaker’s Bureaus have sprung up in Maryland, Massachusetts, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. The Bureau’s approach is unique in that it empowers those who have been affected by homelessness to directly advocate for themselves and others, and bridge the gap between themselves and their audience, who have often never seen the faces of homelessness up-close. As the Speaker’s Bureau shares the often unexpected variety of paths that can lead to homelessness, the negative view of homelessness as a personal problem is challenged and perceptions of the issue are re-evaluated. In 2010, the Speaker’s Bureau spoke 270 times, reaching a combined audience of 15,000, and 2011 is shaping up to beat that number by a landslide, with over 400 bookings.

This August, each of the three undergraduate presentations was given to incoming freshmen in specially-designed community service programs, and their responses were overwhelmingly positive. Freshman Peter Sacco, from George Washington University’s Community Building Community early move-in program, felt the experience “forced me to re-examine my perceptions of homeless…I used to look at these unfortunate souls as lower level people, whose poor choices in life forced them into their own predicaments. But I desperately want to change this perspective.” He has since reached out to NCH to take part in the 48 Hour Homeless Challenge later this year.

Speaker Jackie Grimball made her debut as an NCH Speaker the GWU program. Her story, which includes an elite family background, a privileged life, and “the best private schools that money could buy, along with a Masters from George Washington University” had an enormous impact on the audience. As it sunk in to the audience that she was speaking to her Alma mater, Ms. Grimball “noticed one young lady in the audience whose mouth dropped.” She also shared that she “could not help but be amazed at the reaction of the students as I was talking to them about my family’s rejection of me when they found out my plight. I saw a few of them crying.” Ms. Grimball received a standing ovation for her presentation, a response which aptly reflects her assessment of the evening: “I believe the GWU students’ reaction was that I was still able to ‘stand’ and I am still ‘standing.’”

Donald Whitehead, one of the presenters at American University, is one of the country’s most notable experts on homelessness. As a former Executive Director of NCH, and two terms as President of NCH’s board, he has been active in the Bureau for years. According to him, speaking to incoming freshmen at American’s Freshman Service Experience “has always been one of my favorite speaking engagements,” but this year he felt “there was something special in the room…The questions that were asked by this year’s group were extremely insightful. As a presenter, I left with a genuine sense of hope that at least for one night there was a room full of amazing young people that truly believe that we can and will ‘Bring America Home.’”

 

 

Steve Thomas

Georgetown School of Nursing and Health Studies invited Steve Thomas of the Speaker’s Bureau to present in accordance with their induction ceremony, where the incoming students swear to the values of upholding the common good, and advocating for social justice, among others. “Universally, everyone in attendance was deeply moved by your presentation,” Samuel Aronson, the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs, later told NCH. “This kind of engagement is something I have never before witnessed,” Arnson said after the nursing students voluntarily gathered the next day to share their response to the presentation. One of the attendees reflected that Mr. Thomas’ “ability to bring us into his dark hour of despair and share with us the hope and kindness he thankfully found was something I will not forget.” Another shared “deep gratitude” with Mr. Thomas, “for his willingness to share his thoughts, feelings and experiences with us.” An article about the Georgetown Nursing event can be found here.

These events are just a handful of the thousands of times that NCH’s Faces of Homelessness Speaker’s Bureau has impacted audiences by allowing people who have often never interacted with people experiencing homelessness to hear what it is like, and encouraging both parties to learn and discuss what they can actively do to end it. For more information on our speakers themselves, booking a Faces of Homelessness Speaker’s Bureau event, or starting a Speaker’s Bureau in your area, please visit the Faces of Homelessness Speaker’s Bureau website.

– Adeline Pearson, Fall 2011 Intern

NATIONALHOMELESS.ORG

National Coalition for the Homeless | 2201 P St NW, Washington, DC 20037 | (202) 462-4822 | info [at] nationalhomeless [dot] org
© 2014 National Coalition for the Homeless | Private Policy
Powered by Warp Theme Framework