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Our First Full Day of Impact!

Posted on 07/14/2014 @ 10:00 PM

Today was a great first full day at IMPACT: DC! Participants started the day with an inspiring speech from a person who was formerly homeless who talked about his struggles, success, and motivation. He started off with a little background before asking participants to outline his story through our own questions. We asked about his early life, from family to college, and ultimately how he became homeless and how he was able to overcome that. We learned he was so similar to us because he grew up in a supporting family and ended up going to college. He inspired us to look at homelessness from a different angle and consider the stories behind it.

After that, we went to MacPherson Square to learn from and interact with homeless people. We were encouraged to walk up to them and offer a listening ear, or a friendly smile. We interacted with a wide range of people, from those who wanted to talk about the government to pregnant women with no place to go. A few of us also went to CVS to purchase toothpaste, socks, and anything else we thought might be useful to hand out to the people we saw. It was both saddening and inspiring because we knew we could make their day a little brighter. In addition, we discovered a newspaper called Street Sense, which homeless people can buy for 50 cents and then redistribute for a recommended $2 donation. Many of us bought them and found they were very interesting.

We split up into our site groups – A Wider Circle, Capital Area Food Bank, and Arlington Food Assistance Center. At A Wider Circle, we learned that they pick up and distribute gently used furniture, dishes, and clothing. The average family who comes to pick anything up makes $12,000 or less annually and has 3 children and 1 parent. We helped move and clean the things that would later be distributed to families. At the food banks, we were assigned to specific food groups and pulled the assigned foods off of a conveyor belt. We learned a lot and are excited to keep going back!

Later, we split up into states for an advocacy program in which we explored different issues and political views of our states. We learned which senator, representative, or aide we will be lobbying to and decided our issues after much debate. We ended the night in our circle groups and discussed our days and how we were feeling before splitting up to go hang out at Chofesh.

We’re excited to explore our Jewish history during an impactful day tomorrow at the Holocaust Museum.

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This blog post was written by Rachel Brenner (North Texas Oklahoma Region), Aaron Dobres (Ohio Northern Region), Sophie Gershenwald (Lonestar Region), and Ilana Loory (North Florida Region)

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