Social Impact

Recently, my college professor, Dr. Rashad Richey challenged the class to engage in an assignment that would make a meaningful social impact. We were assigned to groups and after pondering over a few ideas, we decided to help homeless youth here in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Richey was already working with an organization to bring awareness to teen homelessness in Atlanta. After careful consideration, we as a group chose to pass out socks, hats, blankets and gloves to the homeless population on specific a wintery night. Additionally, Dr. Richey decided to sleep outside to further identify with their plight and the severity of homelessness… so we joined him along with various civic groups dedicated to fighting this disturbing trend in our city.

What started as a social project that would make a worthy impact and highlight a little-known reality in the City of Atlanta, suddenly became an endeavor that would change us at our core. It may seem unbelievable, but Atlanta has a staggering number of over seven thousand homeless individuals within the city limits. What’s most alarming is that many of them are teenagers and have been victims of broken homes, child sex trafficking and abandonment. I could not believe my eyes; as we walked through the city on that cold that night, we encountered homeless youth. we saw them, we spoke with them, we prayed for them. Still, I find it difficult to understand how this could be the reality of anyone in our youth population.

I was moved to bring my sixteen-year-old daughter so she could be enlightened on how fast life can change and to grant her an opportunity to help someone less fortunate. Both of our hearts went out to every individual that we could touch that night. My daughter and I bonded even further as we walked through the city, mission bound to make sure those who were on the street felt the warm touch of care.

We are grateful for the experience and to the organizations that constantly provide assistance to those in need. This assignment persuaded myself and many of my classmates renew our commitment to helping others. This also opened my eyes to a reality that was unknown to me and my peer group; teen homelessness.

America is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and yet we have the greatest number of homeless men, women and children of any industrialized nation. Perhaps we should invest more in people than we do in infrastructure… just a thought from a college student who saw the true ugliness of homelessness.

Nikita Howard
Undergraduate Business Student
Beulah Heights University

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