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Photos: Stritch Students Sleep Outside to Raise Homelessness Awareness

Approximately 25 students camped out in the cold and held a candlelight vigil to show support for homeless individuals.

The chill in the air did not dampen spirits of about 25 students who showed solidarity with people who are homeless by camping out in box shelters Thursday night near  Auditorium. Participants also held a candlelight vigil and a prayer service to help ease homelessness struggles and made blankets for donation to Repairers of the Breach - Milwaukee's sole daytime shelter.

This is the third year that the sleep out and candlelight vigil has been held at Stritch. Jon Metz, director of Campus Ministry and event co-organizer, said the university's strong relationship with Repairers of the Breach is what motivated the event.

"We wanted to show our support for the shelter and raise awareness of the struggles of homelessness, hunger and healthcare," Metz said.

Sophmore Sam Wickens, originally from London, England, was recruited to play a song at the candlelight vigil after borrowing Metz's guitar.

"This event is fantastic, I wish I would've done it last year," Wickens said.

As the group awaited the start of "The Pursuit of Happiness," a film based on the struggles and perserverance that Milwaukee native Chris Gardner endured while raising a son on the streets of San Francisco,  made an appearance to personally thank students.

"I admire the courage and strength of these young people," he said. "I'm proud of their efforts to help raise awareness of this important cause."

After the movie, the group circled around the fire, lit candles and said a prayer for those dealing with homelessness. Later, they made felt blankets and wrote positive messages on them to encourage those in need at Repairers of the Breach shelter.

Absolutelyfabulous September 23, 2011 at 09:50 PM
Instead of just standing outside and basically doing nothing other than making yourself feel good for getting your toes a little cold you could have maybe put together an event to raise money to send over to a homeless shelter or tied it in w/ your sleepover. Seriously, how many people sleep outside in this kind of weather when they are camping. Now, if you slept outside or were forced to find a place to sleep w/ no transportation other than your feet when the weather is closer to 0 degrees that might be a little different and how about doing this for a week or 2 or 3 walking from one location to the next to line up a bed for the night to really get a feel for what this kind of life really means to someone and how being homeless and not getting a proper place for shelter can do to someone both physically/mentally. 1 night doesn't even make a dent other than to put on your resume. Yes, my comments are harsh, but I've slept outside w/ no shelter and no tent/blanket and if the weather is nice, you can find a spot that hopefully suits you and settle in for the night. It was a little chilly and you also had the ability to tough it out knowing that in a few hours you would be hitting your bed/hot shower/change your clothes and your regular life would be back on track.
J September 24, 2011 at 01:17 AM
This was an educational program to raise awareness to issues of homelessness. In fact many of the students went to serve at Repairers of the Breach the next day. "Absolutleyfabulous" do you have nothing better to do than to criticize a bunch of college students for voluntarily trying to do something positive instead of doing any number of things college students could have been doing on a Thursday night? They didn't claim to be changing the world last night, but there is a bunch of people that are a little more enlightened about issues of poverty and homelessness. Also there was a monetary donation made to Repairers. Are you currently writing from your warm, and safe residence? WOW, get a life.
Absolutelyfabulous September 24, 2011 at 01:44 AM
J- Drive downtown or walk by a depot/hit a public library. Raise awareness about homelessness/hunger? Don't people read a newspaper/watch the news/spend time in a city?. Please, there are signs of homelessness/poverty all around, though one may have to leave the cozy north shore and maybe hop a bus and spend some time on 15th & North/ 20th & Cherry to see what homeless & poverty are really out in the open and in real time vs some grade school production of sitting out on Campus in an upscale neighborhood and lighting their candles. Spend a night walking the streets of downtown looking for a vent to sleep over and warm yourself or god forbid take a bus and spend some time in the inner city and visit some churches and food pantries and drug re-hab centers and then get back to me on reality. One night on campus w/ security protecting you and your dorm a few hundred ft away is not reality and doesn't even come close to the real thing. So if you want to pat yourself on the back go ahead, but reality is one thing and a production is another.

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