Written by Kristen Van Huss ‘21
On Nov. 18, McNicholas students participated in a virtual Shantytown. Shantytown, which is typically held in person and includes students sleeping in cardboard boxes on campus, was moved online as a result of the Coronavirus.
“The [Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless] actually had reached out before we even started planning…they offered these six virtual programs and that set everything in motion. The three that we chose were Homelessness 101, a personal witness by someone who has experienced homelessness, and an Over-the-Rhine virtual tour,” theology teacher Teresa Davis said.
The virtual sessions took place over the span of five hours in order to offer more depth of learning. “Five hours is a long time…but I’ll be honest, I can’t see us going forward without using this as a preliminary tool. It’s going to be a must-have prior to sleeping on the lawn,” Davis said.
Though it looked different this year, many of the students involved found Shantytown to be an educational experience.
Senior Isabella Bonner learned that “there isn’t one definitive route to becoming homeless…it’s a lot of different things that can come up, and a lot of them most people can’t stop or predict.” Bonner added, People should be more understanding of the fact that nobody chooses to be in the situations that the homeless are in.”
Sophomore Gia Guessford said, “Shantytown was a very eye-opening experience. We not only went over statistics to help our minds understand, but we also got to hear an incredible speaker share her story and message which helped our hearts understand as well.”