Many Ways Young People can Help Address Homelessness, Says Ayden Hector WSU
Homelessness is a problem throughout Washington and is increasing markedly in Bellevue as the city becomes more urban, Ayden Hector WSU says. Last year 446 unsheltered people were found in East King County, WA, representing an increase of 33 percent from the previous year. Many of them are children, according to agencies that help homeless families.
The city is trying to transition people back to stable housing through an affordable housing strategy and funding organizations that help. It also has recently approved the final $4 million needed to build a men’s year-round shelter that is expected to be finished in 2023. “Yet the need remains, ” says Ayden Hector, a Washington State University student, who has been active in helping homeless youth since he was 14 as the president of B.Box, an organization that helps plan birthday celebrations for homeless teens. Young people can make a difference in the lives of homeless people in several ways, he says.
Students can help homeless people in their communities by planning or helping with fundraisers at local charities that help the homeless. They also can organize a food donation drive in their dorm or neighborhood for Renewal Food Bank or Hope Link, which help feed the hungry, many of whom are homeless, Ayden Hector WSU says.
Students also can volunteer. Through B.Box, an organization Hector has run since he was a freshman in high school, he regularly delivers birthday boxes to homeless teens. Hector also sorts, packs, and distributes food boxes for Food Lifeline, a member of Feeding America. He also socializes with and prepares food for residents living in Tent City. The Sophia Way, a women’s shelter in Bellevue, needs volunteers to work in the donation center or sign up to prepare lunch for the residents. Hope Link uses volunteers to pick up donations, to work at the front desk or in the food bank. Renewal Food Bank also uses volunteer staff.
Students can also be involved in writing to local and state officials on behalf of the homeless to encourage funding of additional shelters and affordable housing, he says
Ayden Hector is a business administration major at Washington State University. He also volunteers his time as a counselor at football camps for students in grades two through eight.” He is a graduate of Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish.