Third and fourth graders in Fort Greene, Brooklyn chose to help solve the growing crisis of homelessness in New York City. Through research and meetings with advocates in the field, they learned that a vast majority of the NYC homeless population consists of families with children living in temporary shelters. They created the Public Service Announcement (PSA) below to help raise awareness in their community and to persuade local legislators to make providing stable homes for children a top priority.

SLP advocacy partner Care for the Homeless (CFH) screened their PSA for guests at their 2016 annual gala to inspire them to participate in a text pledge drive – and more than $25,000 in donations were pledged during the event. CFH is also using the PSA in other fundraising and policy efforts.

Third graders in Brownsville, Brooklyn chose to help solve the growing and seemingly intractable problem of street homelessness in NYC. After meeting with staff from Care for the Homeless (CFH), they decided to organize an advocacy campaign to persuade the City Council to fund CFH’s Peer-to-Peer Outreach program. The Outreach program is designed to “find the homeless where they are” by training formerly and currently homeless New Yorkers to educate adults living on the streets of NYC about free medical care and other critical services provided by CFH. The students organized a letter-writing campaign as well as a petition drive to persuade their local City Council member to support the program – and were thrilled to learn that CFH received their requested funding!

To provide more immediate support, the students also collected and delivered much needed supplies including socks (delivered to a CFH medical clinic located near the school) and hundreds of Care Kits with soap, shampoo, combs and more (delivered to a drop-in shelter run by the Coalition for the Homeless.)

After brainstorming and considering more than thirty potential issues, fourth grade students from Essex, Vermont chose to address the homelessness crisis in their state. The young advocates ultimately took a trip to the state house in Montpelier to join the state-wide Homelessness Awareness Day on January 15, 2020. To advocate for increased funding and support for Vermont’s homeless population, they scheduled individual meetings and prepared detailed advocacy presentations for six state representatives. They also spoke directly with Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman about their passion for this issue and participated in a Vigil on the steps of the State House! Read this article in the Essex Reporter about their work, and check out a video on their visit below!

Fourth graders in Stowe, Vermont decided to help prevent homelessness in their community. During the Research Phase, they learned that Vermont has the highest rate of homelessness in New England, as well as far fewer homeless resources and services compared to more urban locations. During an interview with the director of the local adult shelter, they were alarmed to discover that there is no local family shelter. This despite the fact that, each day, more than 25 families in their county do not have a stable home. Armed with the results of their petition drive (more than 175 signatures) and research about the critical need for family shelters, they delivered an impassioned advocacy presentation to the Vermont Agency for Human Services Field Director for their county. He shared their advocacy work with the Vermont Commissioner of Health and Family Services, who promised to take their plea for a family shelter into consideration moving forward. Their advocacy was highlighted in this article published by the Stowe Reporter.