As part of our ongoing conversation on homelessness, we asked members of the Family Promise network and individuals working to serve families experiencing homelessness to share their personal thoughts and reflections on Family Promise and the issue of family homelessness. These writers are true thought leaders, using their skills and expertise to develop and implement creative solutions that are changing the lives of parents and children in their communities. This post is about Summit High School’s Family Promise Club.
Any teenager will tell you high school is a busy time of life – school, homework, friends, jobs. But a group of students at Summit High School (SHS) in New Jersey regularly finds time to help families battling homelessness.
Now in its fifth year, the SHS Family Promise Club has found many ways to serve local families: a “Wall of Wishes” posted at the school this past winter listed items needed for Family Promise Union County’s food pantry, bake sales raise money, and members volunteer with the emergency shelter program.
Club President, Juliana Fiore says the club has made students aware of the drastic contrasts in housing throughout Union County.
“People don’t realize there are struggling families here,” Fiore explains. “Being able to raise awareness of that – and help – puts everything in perspective.”
Treasurer, Will Stern sums up the club’s work and the satisfaction members receive in helping to bring families a sense of normalcy during a time of crisis: “I’m glad we can make a difference for the kids. It’s amazing that they don’t lose themselves given their situations – they’re still able to just be kids.”