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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Homeless homies project

Sophi+tootles+holds+up+a+message.+Photo+credit%3A+Nicole+Henson
Sophi “tootles” holds up a message. Photo credit: Nicole Henson

Last week the Orion met up with a group that would be interviewing the homeless for a class project. After a week of the team going out and collecting stories, we asked them to tell us about the experience. Sabrina Lee, a second-year kinesiology student, was a leading student in this project and represented the group in an interview with us.

The O: Going into this project how did you expect the homeless to react to you approaching them?

Sabrina: Honestly, I didn’t think the homeless wanted to talk to us. But then we started asking simple questions and they opened up to us. It was amazing!

The O: How many days did you guys go out?

Sabrina: We tried going out every single day but life and college get in the way— but we still got out there.

The O: Was it easy to approach people?

Sabrina: To be completely honest, it was hard for me to go out and talk to people. But once we got started it was so much easier.

The O: Out of the ones who were willing to talk, was there a common idea or pattern you saw in their perspective on their living situations?

Sabrina: Every time we spoke to someone, they were very enthusiastic about the changes that have been done and the ones that need to be done. They loved talking about the reasons they were there and what they needed to do to change.

The O: What do they prefer to be referenced as?

Sabrina: They honestly prefer to be called who they are. They know they’re homeless and aren’t ashamed of it. They want people to understand why they chose this path. And I was super surprised to see how many chose it but sad to see how many people wanted to get out of it as well. They just didn’t see a reason why (they shouldn’t be referred to as homeless). Being able to do this, in general, was a blessing— I absolutely enjoyed every minute of going out and changing the thoughts of people who think they’re invisible.

The O: If there is one message you want to direct towards the Chico community about this what would it be?

Sabrina: For the Chico community—I want them to know that these are people too. They have feelings, stories and care about what others know and their opinions. But it doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate their own way of thinking and go about life. Going out and getting them involved in our daily lives is what will put them and us together and let them know that we’re all the same and that we’re all different but all human. The outcome of the project was great I’m very happy with the quality of the stories we got.

Nicole Henson can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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