Tuesday, November 24, 2015

See Me Now - Teens without Homes

Bill Zeeble of KERA
As part of the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Student Campaign against Hunger & Homelessness' National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, here in Dallas, the MDHA Youth Committee held its annual See Me Now - Teens without Homes, event to highlight youth homelessness. Bill Zeeble of KERA excelled as the keynote speaker. He highlighted the tireless work of school districts in helping the most vulnerable of those experiencing homelessness, children. Piles of the Dallas Independent School District's homeless outreach program backpacks gave the assembled a real physical representation of the way too high numbers of youth experiencing homelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties.  
Our Friends Place, Resource Center Dallas, CitySquare TRAC, Viola's House, Promise House, CITY House, and Dallas ISD were all well represented at the event. It was led by MDHA Youth Committee Chair, Carla Cleeson of CitySquare TRAC, and its Vice Chair, Sue Hesseltine, of Our Friends Place. Sarah Carroll, of the City of Dallas, and a member of the committee, read an official proclamation by Mayor Mike Rawlings, designating the day of the event as Homeless Youth Awareness Day.
Carla Cleeson, Chair of the MDHA Youth Committee
The highlight of the event every year is the panel of teens, who tell their moving stories, usually still unfolding, about their struggles with homelessness. This year, the panel was particularly diverse, and even included an adult, our good friend, Paloma Belmarez, longtime employee of Promise House. She movingly recounted her journey from typical middle class child through teen experiencing homelessness to helping kids at the same program that helped her.

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