ARMAGH — This fall the General Assembly of Pennsylvania issued a decree to draw attention to the problem of homelessness among our youth, and United’s students decided to help the cause.
Patricia Berezansky, the director of education/principal at United High School, coordinated this project.
Students wore blue in support of the homeless and each homeroom went to the gym and helped tie together a fleece blanket for homeless students in the district.
[PHOTO: United High School students, from left, Ally Rape, Ralph Ray, Cheyanna Overdorff and Amber Ray tied a blanket for the homeless recently. (Submitted photo/United High School)]
Money for this project was raised through a teacher “dress down” day and Ellen Plowman’s sewing class prepared the blankets for tying.
The goal of the decree issued by the General Assembly was “to encourage schools, communities and individuals to plan for and support assistance programs for youth experiencing homelessness as they look to complete their education.”
The decree also encouraged people “to recognize that homelessness is a serious problem for many of the youth.”
Berezansky said, “Homelessness isn’t always living on the streets and begging for change. There are many different types (of homelessness) and all those people need a helping hand.”
United did what it could to help out, and the blanket project was a great start to this effort.
Berezansky spoke about how the blanket idea was conceived. “I am the homelessness liaison for our district,” she said.
“At the last budget meeting, I was informed that funds were cut in half and there was now a statewide decree to recognize student homelessness.
“I was wondering how to keep supporting the homeless students in our area. We then decided to make blankets as a way to help the homeless and show we care.”
Laidyn Ingalls, a ninth-grader, participated in the blanket tying. She said it “felt good” to help her community out, and she thought the blanket activity was “a helpful idea.”
Ashley Zarnesky, a ninth-grader, also participated.
When asked how it felt to help the community, she said, “I felt glad that I could be a part of something bigger than myself,” and she agreed that the blanket activity was a good idea, saying, “(It was helpful) because a lot of people do stuff for the homeless but rarely for the younger homeless students.”