We invited our volunteers to write about what motivates them in their work for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Their essays will be posted daily as we mark National Hunger & Homeless Awareness Week.
This essay is by Anthony Narducci, a fall intern with the community organizing staff at CCH. A social work major, Anthony is a senior at Trinity Christian College in south suburban Palos Heights.
I never knew homelessness directly impacted me until I interned this fall at Chicago Coalition for Homeless. In high school, I experienced homelessness. Due to issues at home and changing schools, I often had to drift between my brother’s, sister’s and friends’ houses. I didn’t have a car, so physically to get from place to place in the suburbs was a pain. I went to Joliet Catholic, a private high school, and none of my peers knew that I didn’t have my own room or my own home.
Since I know that some people living in the suburbs think homelessness only affects people in the city, I made sure to share my personal experience with State Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) at an in-district meeting with students from Trinity Christian College. Seven seniors majoring in social work at Trinity belong to one of 12 high school and college core teams organized by the CCH Speakers Bureau.
I told Rep. Zalewski, “You and I attended similar schools and thus come from similar environments. I could have been any one of your peers hanging out in the hallway or going to football practice. Homelessness could affect anyone, including those who are much closer to home that you think.”
This week the Trinity core team is running daily actions to educate students about homelessness. Activities include posting flyers, organizing a demonstration of people holding signs with facts about homelessness, and manning a table to collect signatures for a petition to State Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) asking him to protect homeless services in next year’s state budget.