PAIDEIA STUDENTS FOSTER A “COMMUNITY RESPONSE” TO THE ISSUE OF HOMELESSNESS IN GEORGETOWN
Homelessness is a very real and misunderstood situation that affects over one million Americans. Each homeless person tells a unique story and young people are not immune to these struggles. Paideia students have learned that the stereotypical views of “homelessness” as a man on the streets do not reflect the reality of many students in Williamson county that lack stable home lives and constantly live on the move with family and/or friends. We can make quite a difference in the lives of the homeless when we respond to them, rather than ignore or dismiss them.
Students mentored by Dr. Burks and Coach Don Gregory have identified with addressing the need of ‘vulnerable’ populations, particularly teens experiencing some aspect of “housing distress” in Georgetown.The students spent their time working with many organizations on campus, such as Habitat for Humanity, APO, and Amnesty International, that also dedicate efforts towards providing a voice and advocacy for under-represented groups. They looked to foster a partnership where they can reach out to more student organizations as well as the community to increase awareness of the issue and provide programming to address certain needs.
A GARDEN GROWS IN GEORGETOWN - WITH THE HELP OF SOUTHWESTERN PAIDEIA STUDENTS
A project developed by Paideia students is not only enhancing the appearance of the Williamson County and Cities Health District headquarters, but also providing food for low-income residents in Williamson County.
To fulfill their service learning requirement, the students decided to develop a garden for the Williamson County and Cities Health District. Ansa Copeland, a philosophy major from Wharton, came up with the idea for the project after researching the “Green Corn” project in Austin.
The students put in landscaping ties to create raised beds, got dirt donated for the garden, put the plants in, and watered them regularly. Produce currently growing in the gardens includes peppers, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, collards, turnips and a variety of herbs.
The fruits of their labors can be seen around the health district headquarters in downtown Georgetown.
“It’s a wonderful garden,” said Marge Tripp, community health promotion director for the health district. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”
The health district takes produce from the gardens to use in the “Happy Kitchens” classes it teaches at The Caring Place in Georgetown. These classes are for uninsured persons with diabetes to help them control their blood sugar via diet.
“This has been very exciting for us,” Copeland said. “We’re glad that the project has been a success and the Health District is happy.”