By Bonnie Davidson
The Courier 

Students, Homeless For A Night, Think Outside The Box


Bonnie Davidson / The Courier

From left are GHS students Jordan Kulczyk, Jaycee Wixson, Abby Meidinger, Khloe Krumwiede, Auguste Salyards and Tyler Hersom in front of the Valley County Pioneer Museum on Saturday, Sept. 20. The teens slept in boxes for the night to bring awareness to the homeless, experience the lifestyle for an evening and collect donations for charity.

The cold and crisp air left clear skies Saturday night. The colder air helped bring the feel of fall and left several students trying to figure out how to survive the evening in cardboard boxes and a few blankets gathered amongst themselves. It was an evening that they'll probably remember and think about when they pass by transients.

The Glasgow High School leadership class fulfills this project each year. Their teacher Rod Karst tries to help the teenagers understand what the homeless might feel like trying to find a place for sleeping each evening. They gathered at the Valley County Pioneer Museum on Saturday, Sept. 20, around 10 p.m. with boxes they prepared earlier in the week.

Out of a dozen in the class, only six showed up early on. The students weren't only going to experience a night like the homeless, they also worked to raise donations for the Ministerial Association in Glasgow and blankets for the Montana Rescue Mission in Billings. Their goal was to raise around $400. Each student needed to raise $25 and bring a donated blanket.

One of the students, Abby Meidinger, took her form for sponsors to Shopko to try and help get donations for the homeless. She said she found some success in that.

Four teams in the class went in search of their boxes earlier in the week. After they found boxes they began to try and build a structure to sleep in that might keep them warm if the night proved to be chilly. The students were graded by their participation. While they weren't excited about being outdoors for the evening, they were excited about the hot cocoa and food that was provided shortly after the arrived. One of the teens commented that was probably more than most of the homeless received.

"It sucks being a bum," one of the teens stated. "But we're trying to learn the struggles of the people."

They explained that putting themselves in the shoes of those less fortunate was a little of a learning experience. They expected that by 6 a.m., when their experiment ended, they might be cold and exhausted from the night.

The students said that they have seen transients walking through town, but they hadn't really seen them pass along at night. They supposed that perhaps the homeless slept in dumpsters, around "bum jungle," or near the train tracks.

The teens thought they might learn not only leadership skills, but learn how to help the community and see what they could do to help make a change. They thought maybe in the future they could help talk to others about a local homeless shelter, or donate to other shelters.


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