A group of Grace Church School seniors hosted a winter accessories donation drive to benefit Homes for the Homeless.

All students at the school are required to complete a year of “service learning,” where they investigate a problem and try to tackle it through service. They can choose from a wide range of issues, from climate change to education­­.

One group— formed by seniors Nick, Noah L., Preston, Sam, Noah P., and Langston chose to grapple with the issue of homelessness.

“Homelessness really strikes an emotional chord because it is so present in our city,” explains Nick.

The group has learned a lot about homelessness throughout the year. “We didn’t know the complexity of the issue,” says Noah. They learned that homelessness took forms other than street homelessness. This sparked an interest in the often-overlooked issue of family homelessness.

Starting with self-described “lofty” goals—planning to visit the mayor or place ads on LinkNYC kiosks—the high schoolers quickly realized that their energy would best serve more incremental projects, like a winter accessories drive.

“We weren’t setting out to solve the whole issue of homelessness,” explains Preston, “it’s just one step at a time.”

They were able to collect 24 children’s winter kits, consisting of a hat and gloves, along with a bag full of winter gear such as scarves and headbands. These items have been distributed to Homes for the Homeless’ three shelters.

The experience has been rewarding for the students. Ultimately, says Sam, the teens found that what truly makes a difference is, “the act of providing a service.”

We here at Homes for the Homeless couldn’t agree more. Find out how you can make a difference here.

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