Sunday, April 15, 2012

Becoming an Ally

For my final entry, I would like to address what I have taken from this project over the course of this semester. The first thing that comes to mind is how important it is to be vocal and advocate for groups you wish to be an ally for. To show that you care, you have to be proactive and educate yourself. It is also important to note that some of the groups that need the most help are comprised largely of invisible individuals. What I mean by this is that homeless students, for example, do not want it to be known they are homeless. That’s why it is important to make sure everyone knows you your position – that you’re an ally. This is so that individuals from invisible groups know they can come to you for guidance and help. This is likely one of the few ways to reach this group. Also, in order to appear genuine, it is important to already be educated on the subject when approached by a student. As mentioned before, this requires being a bit proactive on your part.

For those of you who wish to advocate for the homeless, I found some interesting ways to get your voice heard. I got most of these ideas from The National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness website. For additional resources, this organization also recommends going to

Individuals interested in helping this demographic can organize a clothing drive or even write to their congressman or congresswoman urging him or her to “support legislation that will benefit homeless people.” Another idea suggests volunteering at an organization that specifically helps the needy. I consider the time I spent with Labre Ministry to be invaluable. I met a lot of homeless people who opened up to me and showcased for me the human component of this issue. In addition to volunteering, writing to your representatives and organizing a clothing drive, The National Coalition for the Homeless also recommends organizing a panel of former or current homeless people to come speak about their experiences. For any of you wishing to take advantage of this opportunity, you can email Michael O’Neil. He is the Director for the Speakers’ Bureau, which is a part of the NCH. His email is Email him, or click on this,for more information about coordinating this event as well as attaining moreinformation on others things associated with homelessness.

As I think about what I have learned through this project and in my Student Development class as well as other classes, I cannot help but think that there are so many groups of invisible people in the world, just waiting for the opportunity to be helped. There are resources that can be utilized, people who can help, and yet, for whatever reasons, these resources and people are not always being matched to the people they can help. I will certainly keep everything I have learned here in mind as I continue my work in higher education.