MEDFORD, Ore. — It was a very special day for kids from the Valley School of Southern Oregon. They’ve been getting to know 7 people in the community experiencing homelessness as part of a school-wide project.
Today, they showcased their work to parents, teachers, and other students.
“They’re just regular people like you and me, but they don’t have a special place to call home,” said Layton Homewood, student.
The project is expanding students’ understanding of what causes homelessness and who it impacts.
“It’s very nice to know their story…and when you know how they feel, you feel it too…,” said Homewood.
“They’re just really amazing people that just something bad happens to make them…be homeless,” said Naomi Thuren, student.
The students showcased multimedia projects to parents, teachers, and other students at Central Medford High School on Wednesday. Each were paired with a person in the community experiencing homelessness who shared their personal stories with them.
“There were a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes that the students had,” said Erin Miller, teacher.
The projects were showcased in a science fair fashion. People could move from room-to-room asking questions and learning about the experiences of the project’s participants.
“They were able to also see some things they have in common with them and see that this is really something that can happen to anybody…,” said Miller.
It was a special day for many, seeing personal stories brought to life and sharing those experiences with others.
“My heart has grown a lot…and I feel a lot… I don’t know…I feel a lot more compassion towards people who are homeless,” said Homewood.
The school says they will hold another showcase on Friday, which teachers say will be more intimate.
They will be inviting organizations that helped the school with the project including Rogue Retreat and the Maslow Project, along with the projects seven participants.
Amanda Rose is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. Amanda graduated from Columbia University earning a Master’s degree in Journalism. She also received a Bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in literature from the University of British Columbia. She’s a Los Angeles native, but is thrilled to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and is passionate about reporting on the criminal justice system.