This weekend, the Juneau Douglas High School Interact Club, a high school club sponsored by Rotary International, held their annual Homeless Awareness Sleep-Out to help bring attention to student homelessness in Juneau. JDHS Interact has hosted this event since 2002, as part of their focus on community service and leadership training. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Interact internationally.
According to Gabriella Worden, vice-president of Interact, last year the Juneau School District identified 201 students in transition who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The club’s homeless student support fund assists these identified students by providing them with lunch, academic supplies, and transportation to and from school.
In addition to raising awareness about the issue, the event generates money for the homeless student support fund, and for Glory Hole Family Food boxes.
“The money and awareness raised in the community is a very important part of this project, and it directly helps fellow students,” Interact member Erin Gaffaney said in an email. “But I believe the part of this project most people don’t see is that for the students who sleep out in November weather for 12 hours, student homelessness becomes very real in their minds.”
National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week is Nov. 10-18.
For more information or to donate, visit jdhsinteract.weebly.com/donate--sleepout.html