Social studies students at a Colorado high school skip showers, panhandle for lunch money and sleep in their cars in the school parking lot as part of a class designed to teach them to be activists.
As part of their assignment, students agree to wear one set of clothes for several days straight (even if they spill salsa or other staining foods on themselves, as several students admitted doing Wednesday).
They also avoid regular social circles for a week, forgo showers for a couple of days, panhandle for lunch money in the cafeteria and temporarily give up cars and cell phones.
Tonight, they’ll sleep in their cars in the school parking lot.
The goal, said Laura Brayman, executive director of HomeAid Colorado, is to open students’ eyes to the realities of homelessness — which increasingly affects teens and families – and perhaps prod them to activism.
Marissa Leyva, a 17-year-old senior, is the best panhandler, possibly because she scrounged food from friends early in high school, when her family was struggling. Leyva has doubts about the project.
“I felt like I was mocking homelessness instead of helping it,” she said.
Maybe she’s too close to real poverty to get a thrill from playing at it.
Via Interested Participant, who posts the Five Rules of Homelessness.