AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – Dozens of teens are boxing up homelessness and sending it packing.
Cardboard City is the first fundraiser of it’s kind in the C.S.R.A.
Nearly 91 local teens are spending the night outside to experience what it’s like to be without a home. They are staying out there for almost 24 hours to raise awareness and money for the homeless.
Teens from 9 different church youth groups around the C.S.R.A. welcomed our WJBF News Channel 6 crew to their humble homes at the first annual Cardboard City event on the front lawn of First Baptist Church of Augusta.
Family Promise of Augusta Executive Director Lotoya Hardman says educating teens through hands-on experience is the best way to learn about the harsh reality that homeless people have to live day and night.
“To be able to lift the youths and to let them know about it because we have people in our organization in our shelter that are their age. So that way they can know that it’s real, that it can be my best friend, it could be me,” Hardman told WJBF News Channel 6.
The teens decorated their boxes and some got really crafty with their cardboard homes for the night. Just about everyone brought their sleeping bags, something all of them realize is not always an option for the homeless.
“I mean it’s just not right for somebody to go through that,” said Tyler Hanson a member of Quest United Methodist Church.
Most of the young people wanted to go through this unique experience to learn the struggles other people have to go through and some wanted to do something out of the ordinary.
“I thought it would be fun experience different lifestyles instead of always having to stay in my house,” Parks Bagby, a member of Quest United Methodist Church, said.
“I think it will be a really cool experience to get out of our comfort zone and experience what less fortunate have to go through everyday,” said Evan Roberson, youth group leader at First Baptist Church of Augusta.
For Stanton Bemis, also a youth group leader at First Baptist Church of Augusta, participating in Cardboard City is also about inspiring the kids in his group to be more compassionate and open-minded. “Now we are understanding that this is what they go through a general struggle everyday,” he said.
The youth groups will be out there until their wake-up call at 6 a.m. on Saturday.
Many of the teens WJBF News Channel 6 spoke with Friday night say this experience won’t be over just because they get to go home in the morning.