Anderson, Indiana

AU students, alumni to participate in overnight homeless experience

Tue, 2010-11-09 08:15 -- univcomm
November 9, 2010

A number of Anderson University students and alumni will participate this weekend in "Reality Check: Confronting Homelessness."

The event, co-hosted by The Christian Center and Alternatives, Inc., will cost $10 per person and starts at 6 p.m. Friday continuing until 7 a.m. the next morning.

reality-checkThis is the second year for Reality Check. It is an event that focuses on connecting community resources to the needs in the community.

Reality Check will consist of programming including a performance by Alanna Story (featuring Anderson University alumni Anna and Ally Long) and guest speaker pastor Andy Odle, also an AU alum and graduate of the School of Theology.

Through community and student involvement, the people behind the scenes are hoping to address the issue of local homelessness throughout Madison County and break down stereotypes.

AU alum and Volunteer Coordinator of The Christian Center Lindsey Marler said, “We are all emotional creatures. We connect to one another through stories and experiences. Reality Check allows the community to connect with their homeless neighbors in a way that brings hope and empowerment.”

The AU community is a big part of this particular event. Ball State University and Ivy Tech will also be involved, along with Liberty Christian elementary and high school students.

First year participant and Vision ReVision student coordinator Katie Price is excited to see how everything plays out.

“Working behind the scenes is great, but I am most interested in seeing how it all comes together and how it is going to affect the community,” said Price.

Working alongside Katie are Michelle Leak, Christian Center student coordinator, and Rachael Huddy, Advocacy and Awareness student coordinator.

The three student-led groups held a fundraiser last week to stir excitement about the event on campus. “Dunk and Donate” gave students the opportunity to pay a dollar and dunk Pastor Todd Faulkner. All of the proceeds will be used to support Reality Check.

Along with the student fundraiser there will also be a blanket and sock drive to work side by side with Reality Check.

Volunteers will be collecting new socks and new or gently used blankets. Socks and blankets can be turned in at Culver’s on Scatterfield Road.

Junior Alexis Gentry is participating in the overnighter with others from her social club, L’amifidel. They are looking at this as a time to broaden their views on homelessness and to bond as “sisters.”

“Reality Check gives people the chance to try and understand and experience being homeless for the night,” said Gentry. “I think by participating in this event I will no longer take my life, or the things I have in it, for granted.”

Homelessness is a very real issue in Anderson and in the Central Indiana region.

According to The Christian Center website, there are “663 people experiencing homelessness each night and 183 of them are children.” The areas surveyed include Grant, Blackford, Jay, Delaware, Randolph, Henry, and Madison Counties. Agencies like The Christian Center and Alternatives make it their purpose to assist with housing, hunger, household items, clothing, crisis intervention, and more.

“While this event is for the entire community and not just AU students,” said Marler, “we would not be able to have this event without the support of AU student life. The students are truly being the hands and feet of Christ."

— Aimee Munn is a writer for the Andersonian. Story reposted with permission. Photo credit: Lauren Crouch.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.