I have had 100’s of conversations with so many people now about going homeless, and have been asked questions like,
“Is this an organization strictly for the homeless?
“What other work do you do?”
“How can I get involved?”
Well, here’s the short answer… To be honest, I’m going homeless for more causes than one. I’m going homeless to raise awareness about homelessness, but also to raise awareness about another “silent epidemic” that’s going on in the state of GA and in other places among students (whose families may be homeless or live in transitional housing).
If fact, Did you know, “The fastest growing group of homeless people is children under 9 years of age.” (stat taken from Atlanta Metro Task Force for the Homeless)
Did you know there were children that sit in schools across this country whose families are homeless (It may not be as visible, but still exists)?
Did you know that either poverty or homelessness has caused a silent “uniform crisis“ among under-resourced students in Elementary Schools around the United States of America?
What crisis you’re probably wondering?
Let me explain. For the last twelve years, I have spoken in many environments (in colleges, schools, churches, businesses, for sororities, in penal systems, for fraternities, at government functions, etc), but most of the engagements have been in title 1 schools.
Why? Because I traveled sharing my personal story of life-change with youth and students and many opportunities came from schools with students who needed a little inspiration. I traveled hoping to redirect some young person before they reached a dead end. You can grab my first autobiography on amazon [here] in case you want to know what story.
But, while doing work in elementary schools (mainly title 1), I noticed that many children were wearing uniforms that had holes, were not washed, or they did not have on adequate attire (then principals and community liaisons confirm my suspicions).
I then learned that many title 1 schools have families that make less than 15K per year, and cannot afford to buy new uniforms for their children (some even live in transitional housing, or motels–not ALL families, but enough to catch my attention).
This broke my heart! Why? Because I can relate (if you grew up with hard times you can too).
It also broke my heart because I know that when a child goes to school and their attire is poor it messes with their self-esteem (causing them not to connect with the lesson). Now, imagine being homeless, having social problems at the house, not having adequate attire, and then you are asked to learn (sometimes that’s hard if your mind is filled with other junk).
What could I do I thought? How could I help students like this and more have fresh uniforms that would possibly boost their self-esteem (helping them connect with the lesson)?
Then it clicked. Go homeless…raise awareness… and provide….“Uniforms of Hope.”
I can partner with schools across this country and raise support to resource under-resourced students with uniforms so they would have adequate attire to wear to school through #lovebeyondwalls.
Well, it is becoming a realty! One month ago, we partnered with a major uniform supplier to make a special uniform with our heart on the sleeve.
Here’s our first sample:
Why on the sleeve? Because the heart informs educators, students, and families that there is an army of people out in the world that care about students and believe in their educational future. A #lovebeyondwalls army!
How does it work? I’m glad you asked.
1) When a person donates $15-$20, that person starts the process to receive one of our branded shirts that says, “GIVE LOVE AWAY”
2) From there, our manufacture creates a “Uniform of Hope” for a student in need.
3) Our manufacturer then ships the uniform (free of charge) to one of the ten schools we are partnered with to resource a child that I described a little earlier (aiming to get more schools).
4) Lastly, an exclusive branded #lovebeyondwalls shirt is printed and sent to the donor for their donation.
Here’s our diagram of how it works:
So, do you want to help us resource students yet? If so, donate and let’s resource 1K students starting in January (that’s 100 uniforms for ten schools)! We are calling this #projecthope.
Today, as I prep myself even more…not only am I thinking about my homeless friends in downtown Atlanta, I am thinking about students across this country (and the fastest growing population of homeless people in the US).