Homelessness Panel Discussion Set for Monday, March 26

For Immediate Release: 
Mar 21 2007

CONTACT: Jesse Call, Campus-Wide Community Service Coordinator, Bonner Scholars
1-800-344-6679 ext. 6009, 1-304-384-6009, FAX 384-9044, callj22@concord.edu

NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: The media is encouraged to attend this event.

Homelessness Panel Discussion Set for Monday, March 26

Athens, W.Va. – Concord University will be a hosting a "Faces of Homelessness" panel discussion on Monday, March 26 at 6 p.m. in the Student Center State Room. Panelists will consist of individuals from the National Coalition for the Homeless Speakers’ Bureau who have been or are currently homeless and will focus attention on those who suffer from hunger and homelessness.

“The event is going to be a time for students and residents in the area to really become educated on the issues related to homelessness within the United States by hearing firsthand experiences,” said Jesse Call of Pocahontas, Va., the student campus-wide community service coordinator and organizer of the event. “The issue is one that is easily brushed aside in this region due to its lack of prevalence, but it’s an issue every college student and every citizen needs to understand and works towards finding solutions,” he added.

In the last two years, more than 40 currently- or formerly-homeless panelists spoke to 542 groups in more than 40 states, reaching more than 35,000 people. There are many stereotypes of homeless people, including the following characteristics—laziness, lack of education, an addiction to either alcohol or drugs, and a preference to live on the street. The Speakers’ Bureau aims to break those stereotypes and to give a face to the problem of homelessness.

“When you pass a homeless person on the street, you don't have to give them money,” said Michael O'Neill, speakers' bureau coordinator for the National Coalition for the Homeless. "You give them your heart. One thing you can do is smile and say, ‘Hello, how are you.’ That gives hope. It can change their day around, even their life around." Homeless advocates and those who used to live on the street agree: The restoration of human dignity is essential for homeless people to take back their lives.

The “Faces of Homelessness” panel has visited Concord University two times in the past inspiring students and community members to get more involved. Concord has held several “Box City” events where students live in boxes on campus for a night to raise money for Scottie’s Place, a wilderness camp for homeless children near Peterstown.

The event will also hope to inspire students to participate in the “Urban Plunge,” an event held by the NCH in Washington, D.C., where students get a taste of the experience of homelessness firsthand. The plunge trip is scheduled to take place March 30 through April 1.

The public is encouraged to attend this free event. Funding for the event was provided by the Concord University Student Government Association and the Bonner Scholars Program. Concord University is the only public institution in the nation with the prestigious Bonner Scholars Program.


CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679, extension 6086 if special assistance or help is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.