Eight teenagers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States, led by Madeline Smith did something that helped make a point. Madeline is a senior at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School. She got students from her school together to do performances to help make the public aware that there are homeless students. The students did different arts through their artistic mediums. Madeline Smith wanted to change the stereotypical homeless person. She says people think the homeless are men carrying have their hands out for people to put money and cardboard sign standing on the corner hoping to get money from people.
These eight teenagers in the program Hope through Creativity had the eight students standing in the Grand Hall of the Priory Hotel; which used to be a Benedictine order monastery. The student’s stood there holding signs that told people about how students can be homeless, too. It is not just adults.
Pittsburgh is in Allegheny County and the School Districts in Allegheny County there are 143,00 students who attend these schools, there are 2,985 that are homeless. And of each school district, not one reports fewer than ten homeless students. So that means every school district has at least ten homeless students when even one homeless student is way too much.
Madeline Smith has parents and grandparents who were pastors at New Hope Church on the North Side of Pittsburgh. She volunteers with eight other students at Homeless Children’s Education Fund under the direction of the Executive Director Bill Wolfe.
Madeline says that the homeless person is considered one who doesn’t have a permanent home at night. These students may stay at a relative’s house that isn’t their legal guardian. Sometimes these students sleep at friend’s houses for a little while and then onto another friend, They go to the house of different friends frequently.
A lot of these homeless students fall behind in their studies especially if they are staying under a bridge like the homeless do in Pittsburgh, that is not a good place to study. They feel like they have no friends, or maybe they give up their friends one by one. Some reasons might be they get invited to the friend’s house many times and they have no house to invite the friends back. Or maybe if they are sleeping at friend’s house, they may tell the friend they are having problems with their parents and the friend lets them sleep over. But when those friends want to sleep over that student’s house because the student probably didn’t tell the friend they were homeless. They can’t invite them to sleep on the streets. So they try to not have friends. Also, there are other reasons as they probably won’t be able to attend a prom. If they’re homeless, they probably could not afford a prom gown or tuxedo depending on their gender. They probably don’t have enough money if they are the boy who usually buys the tickets.
It gets even worse of the student has psychiatric or psychological problems because they will not be able to afford to get help. They also aren’t any better off if they have a drug problem as they won’t be able to check into a rehabilitation clinic or else they steal off people in order to get their drug of choice. Then they could end up in jail.
There are some I am sure will go to a homeless shelter when it gets cold. The homeless shelter because they send out the workers at the homeless shelters in the area go around and look for those who are sleeping on the street and bring them to the shelter. But, of course, there are some stubborn ones who want to stay on the street. They give these lots of coats and blankets to keep warm. Especially in February of this year where Pittsburgh, the area might have had one day above freezing and a lot of days below zero. They were looking for the homeless then.