Plymouth South High students give voice to the homeless

When students at Plymouth South High School involved with the DECA program want to do a project related to public relations, they usually look to do something involving a business.

Seniors Alec Medeiros and Brianna Longergan chose a different client. The homeless.

Working with the Plymouth Task Force for the Homeless, the pair sat down with homeless men during a meal being served at the First Baptist Church and listened to their stories. “When you sit down and eat a meal with them, it reminds you these are average people,” said Medeiros.

They’re not, he said, who you think they are. As part of their project they surveyed their classmates and found most assumed that the root cause of homelessness is either drugs or alcohol. That’s not the case, he said. Domestic abuse is the most likely reason for women to find themselves homeless. For men, it’s poverty, Medeiros said.

The men the pair spoke to underlined that point. They weren’t drug addicts, Medeiros said. They had steady jobs, but then something happened. “They had no control of the situation,” he said. In one case, it was a contractor who worked in Florida. He was hurt when a ladder fell on him, forced to chase jobs up the coast until we wound up here with no work or place to live.

As part of their project, Medeiros and Lonergan are spreading the word by speaking with local media. They also held a clothing drive. “We were overwhelmed by what we got,” he said. And, of course, this is a DECA project, so they’ll be presenting it at the state conference in March.

Read Alec and Brianna’s report

Ending the Stigma by Matthew Nadler on Scribd

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