Stroll the busy streets just a few blocks from our nation’s Capital, and you just might knock elbows with some of the people responsible for most of the news we see every evening. As much as fifty per cent of our daily news starts in DC, by some accounts.
And you’ll see something else. On just about every corner, amid the mass of humanity that is the lifeblood of our country, you’ll see men and women selling a newspaper call Street Sense, which is responsible for a lot of the news you just never hear about – the news of the homeless.
Not just about the homeless, but written and produced largely by the homeless.
You can’t miss them. They proudly wear the bright green vendor’s vest that’s fairly screaming Street Sense. Look a little closer, and it might be one of our students.
Every year, dozens of students from RMU travel to DC for a few weeks to work with the good people at Street Sense who help coordinate the publishing and selling of this captivating bi-weekly newspaper. The students chip in and help wherever they can – serving meals, taking on some administrative tasks, and generally, and joyfully, being available for whatever. Including hawking a few newspapers.
Street Sense is a way for the homeless to make a few dollars each day – enough for a meal, for a snack, for a necessity. Sometimes they can even sock enough away to pay for a place to stay – off the street.
And each of our students comes back home with a new perspective about the homeless, a new understanding of how homelessness happens, and how people can help. Really help. People like themselves. People like you.
NOTE: Robert Morris University thanks Abby Strunk, Executive Director of Street Sense, for all her help to us when we filmed our RMU story in DC, and for her many kindnesses to our crew, our students and to the homeless.