More youth facing the crisis of homelessness

caines | 11/22/2012, 5 a.m.

Gelowe Jean, 18, is a senior at Miami Edison and a two-year member of the schools Drug Free Youth in Town [DFYT] Club, facilitated by Delphine Gervais, an Edison alum and counselor for The Homeless Trust. Jean says she is committed to helping her classmates who are struggling with either drug abuse or homelessness. Jeans story and her achievements this year are even more compelling given the fact that she now lives with an older sister after their mother died earlier this year. Being homeless does not mean being less than human, she said. I know I could be in their shoes. We have been taught that it doesnt help to give money to people on the streets that say theyre homeless. If they really are homeless and need help, we know how to connect them with someone that can really help change their lives for the better. At a rally at Florida Memorial University, Miss Kimmy and DJ Ice, both from 99 JAMZ, led a packed audience of high school students get energized and educated before returning to their communities as part of a sign brigade. Student ambassadors from eight high schools including Carol City, Jackson and Northwestern talked about how they can make a difference. We need to build more places like Camillus House so that kids and even adults can be clean, have a safe place to eat and not have to sleep on the streets, said Northwestern senior, Lamar Mitchell. Shoniece Bennett, a student at Carol City said she wishes she could talk to President Obama about the challenges facing homeless youth. I would ask him how he grew up and what he saw during his youth, she said. He says he lived a normal childhood but I wonder if he really understands how seriously homelessness effects young people in Miami. I would invite him to walk with me so I could show him what kids are facing. Shartrice Lubin, a student at North Miami Beach agreed but with one caveat. Sure, I would love to accompany the President through the streets of Miami but Id take him to places that a lot of people dont know about places where kids live that arent fit for humans. Some of the shelters need a lot of improvements and need to be cleaned up. Those places and the people who are forced to live there need our help the most. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com