VIDEO: Students raise thousands for homeless children
Published: Thursday, September 1, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
SMU students gathered for the "Sleep in a Box" event on the South Quad Wednesday night to raise awareness about homelessness in Dallas and raise funds for Vogel Alcove, an
organization dedicated to helping homeless children succeed.
The event was organized by Mustang Heroes, a student-run organization whose mission is to increase awareness of social issues and encourage students to become active member of society.
"We create service projects or partnerships that are sustainable, engaging and impacting," Mustang Heroes'
President Daniel Poku said.
Although "Sleep in a Box" was Mustang Heroes' first fundraiser event, it brought in a total of $3,368, all of which went to Vogel Alcove.
Students formed groups of five to 10 individuals and were given the task of decorating cardboard boxes with paint.
From boxes that looked like rockets to boxes decorated with SpongeBob SquarePants, everyone got into the contest.
"It's cool to see how creative everybody's being," freshman Virginia Hadley said. "One person has an owl, a lot of people have homes...it's just nice to see people's approaches to this issue."
Poku reminded participants that this was more than just a decorating contest.
"Creating boxes is a fun event, but at the end of the day, there's a huge, huge issue going on right outside of our campus, and it's homelessness, family homelessness," he said.
President and CEO of Vogel Alcove Karen Hughes also told students that homelessness is not what most people think it is.
"Most people think of it only as chronic homelessness – the person on the sidewalk with the cardboard sign – and homelessness is much more than that," Hughes said.
"There are many children in Dallas that are homeless. There are teens in Dallas that are homeless. There are families that have done nothing other than lose their jobs that are homeless," she said.
Celebrity chef and restaurateur Lisa Garza spoke to students about some of the challenges she faced growing up.
She encouraged students not to judge those who are less fortunate than them.
"Show them empathy and show them love, and appreciate what you have," Garza said. "Realize you have an opportunity, and with privilege, comes responsibility. We have a choice to take what we have and to make the world better take your opportunity and do something great with it. Leave a legacy of love."
At the end of the evening, prizes were awarded for the boxes that were most creative, most spirited and most related to family homelessness.
"The Super 6" won most creative and "The Super Scholars" won most spirited. Both teams received Rangers tickets. "The Ultimate Boxing Champs" won the award for most related to family homelessness and received Fossil watches.
All participants received free tickets to Studio Movie Grill.
The "Snider Elephants" was the team that raised the most money, a grand total of $2,070. They received the grand prize– a sweet at the Mavericks vs. Miami Heat game valued at $2,000.
Although the fundraiser was called "Sleep in a Box," students never actually slept in the boxes they created. Mustang Heroes' Vice President Carissa Grisham said they did a shortened version this year, but hope to have an all night event next year in which students would spend the entire night in their makeshift homes.
"We're really hoping that it becomes an annual event," Grisham said.