Thank you, Dani!

On the mornings of Monday March 19, and Friday, March 23, at National Presbyterian School (NPS), Marcellus Phillips, Ken Martin and Dani Gilmour, an employee from Street Sense, came to talk to us about homelessness. If you don’t know what Street Sense is, it is a newspaper company that gives jobs to people that are experiencing homelessness to write articles and then sell the paper.

Marcellus experienced homelessness around two years ago, but when he became a vendor and started selling newspapers he was able to get back on his feet. When he was experiencing homelessness, he used music to get through it. He would rap to himself every day until he felt comfortable.

Ken Martin also experienced homelessness for around six years. But instead of rapping like Marcellus, he wrote poetry to keep him going during this rough time. He has since then moved into an apartment. He still works as a vendor right now and is trying to open a hat shop.

Dani organizes the important events for Street Sense, like the art shows and the meetups.

When Marcellus came to our school to talk about homelessness, he also shared a rap about it, too. But since this is a Service Learning project, it was 5th grade’s turn to do something. We split up into groups and started making our own raps about homelessness.

A Service Learning project is a way for NPS students to discover and help communities other than our own. One of our other Service Learning projects included Ken’s visiting us earlier in the year telling us his experience as an “invisible” Street Sense vendor. We also read a book called “What Do Fish Have To Do With Anything” by Avi, which is about homeless people who are “invisible”. And later this year we will be going to meet a man from Friendship Place to talk to us about homelessness while we make care packages for the homeless. If you don’t know what Friendship Place is, it’s an organization that supports the homeless. Our music teacher, Mrs. Hancock, provided us with keyboards so that we could make a beat, while Ken came around and gave us lots of positive feedback. At the end of class, we presented our raps to the whole grade and everyone’s rap was awesome.

I can’t wait to see Ken, Marcellus and Dani again!

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We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.