Saturday, Jan. 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lansing area homeless will have the opportunity to visit Maple Grove Baptist Church to freely select clothing, toiletry, and hygiene items that were collected by Teens Against Homelessness. Three high school students who discovered their desire to make a tangible impact on homelessness started the group and planned the event all on their own, and on an entirely volunteer basis.
Brittany Vergason, Abby Osborn, and Alexis Dansby are three high school students who are duel enrolled at Lansing Community College through Eaton Regional Education Service Agency. Brittany and Abby attend Eaton Rapids High School, and Alexis attends Grand Ledge High School. As part of their LCC programming they’ve been able to participate with the national organization, HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America). Through HOSA future health professionals are empowered “to become leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration, and experience.” (From the HOSA online mission statement.)
Brittany, Abby, and Alexis likened their experience participating in HOSA to what agriculture students experience while participating in FFA. There are leadership trainings, competitions, and ways to get involved in the community. For these three students, it didn’t take a lot of brainstorming to notice the needs of the homeless close to home. Taking what they’ve learned from HOSA, the girls wanted to accomplish something real and noticeable, so they made a Facebook page, set goals, held fundraisers and collected donations, then created an accessible event for the homeless to find free necessities.
“We think it is really important to do this. There’s a big homeless population in Lansing, and in our own schools,” said Abby. “It gives you a better look on things… we’re grateful for what we have.”
Teens Against Homelessness has collected and purchased hundreds of clothing items, toiletries, and hygiene products for the January 13 event. The monetary donations have come primarily from a money drive in Eaton RESA classrooms, and large donation from Buddies Bar and Grill in Holt.
“We’re very thankful for all the help we’ve received. We’re still planning to continue this and make it bigger,” said Abby about Teens Against Homelessness.
Maple Grove Baptist Church is located at 5907 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Lansing. Although the event is scheduled until 2 p.m., it is also scheduled until the supplies run out. Those hoping to come and collect items are encouraged to show up early. To learn more about Teens Against Homelessness, or the January 13 event, readers are encouraged to visit the Teens Against Homelessness Facebook page, or email email@example.com.