Birmingham teens spend the night out to learn about homelessness - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Birmingham teens spend the night out to learn about homelessness

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Around 14-hundred people are homeless in Birmingham and Saturday night dozens of students are getting an idea what it feel like to be in those shoes. They're participating in a project called "Cardboard Connect" making Birmingham's youth aware of the problem."

On a Saturday night, students from more than 40 area schools gave up the comforts of home to learn what it's like not to have one. Trevor Webster sets up his make shift bed which he'll sleep in until morning.

It's hard to really fathom what it's like to do that every single night being outside in the cold or during the heat.

Organizations youth serve and one roof put on a simulation exercise, to let students figure out how they would get through certain situations the homeless face.

"It raises awareness at a younger age and it's also getting them involved in the community and understanding what's going on in Birmingham." Stacy Oliver, with One Roof, says there's been a steady decline in homeless numbers, but worries there's not enough  permanent housing to stop the problem.

Cardboard Connect gives students an opportunity to discuss the issues and they learn how to take active leadership roles to solve them.

Jennifer Hatchett, YouthServe Executive Director, says  "We like to get kids engaged in the community, get them talking about issues, getting them involved and realizing they can contribute quite a lot."

Along with learning, students also wanted to give. Leeds High School Student, Maya Everitt, helped collect hygiene products for the homeless. "We prompted our student body to bring hygiene products such as toothpaste, toothbrush and socks, just vital things that homeless person would need on a day to day basis."

Students heard from some people affected by this issue and they ate a meal you would get at a shelter. They also honored 20 homeless people who passed away last year. 

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