ROTC cadets and students help homeless navigate resources
About a dozen Social Work students and Green Terror Battalion ROTC cadets were among the 178 volunteers and 75 service providers at the second annual Homeless Resource Day hosted by Carroll County Department of Social Services at Winters Mill High School in Westminster, Md.
Community service is nothing new to the students who served as navigators, helping participants identify and access various resources. The Social Work seniors are currently working 16-20 hours a week in area human services agencies to fulfill their field-placement requirement and all of them have volunteered at homeless shelters and other local organizations.
“The cadets understand their efforts to help the community are the right thing to do, and it reinforces their commitment to both the Army values and the McDaniel College mission,” said Lieutenant Colonel Paul Jackson, professor of Military Science at McDaniel.
More than 110 adults and children were linked with service providers by the volunteers – including also local law enforcement organizations and county residents. The Carroll countians were helped in obtaining photo identification cards, medical and dental screenings, blood pressure and eye exams, pro bono legal assistance, housing information, veteran administration assistance, employment services and even haircuts.
“It was good to see all of the different organizations working together under one roof,” said Anna Rawa, a Social Work major from Hampstead, Md.
One man told Social Work major Sarah Kernan of Westminster, Md., that he was able to get his life back on track after participating in Homeless Resource Day last year – and without it he would still be on the streets.
Maggie Fennelly of Gainsville, Fla., was surprised that there weren’t more people there to connect with resources since there are so many more who need these services.
“Hopefully, next year even more will come,” the Social Work major said.
A statewide initiative that provides one stop preventative and direct services to citizens who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, Homeless Resource Day serves a diversity of people.
“The face of the homeless has changed and this population is often invisible because they look like us, families with children, individuals and the elderly,” said Frank Valenti, director of the Carroll County Department of Social Services. “Veterans are a fast-growing segment of the homeless population. They frequently experience economic and emotional difficulty re-entering the community. The down-turn in the economy also has impacted families with children who find themselves in crisis because of unemployment, home foreclosure or a catastrophic health event.”