Special Report: Students Live as Homeless People to Increase Awareness About Growing Issue - Part I

Special Report: Students Live as Homeless People to Increase Awareness About Growing Issue - Part I

By Sylvia Gonzalez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - On Friday night, while many teens were getting ready to hit the movies or the mall, there was a group of Odessa High students that opted to do something, most teens wouldn't think of doing.

Some teens have seen an increase in the number of homeless people in Odessa, so they wanted to know first hand what it's like to sleep out in the cold with limited food and water.

What began as a discussion among a teacher and her students turned out to be a hands on project. Some students in Stephanie Tibbets class brainstormed ways to bring awareness to the growing number of homeless people around town and in their own school. They gave up one Friday to try and live as a homeless person.

"The things that they are to bring with them is a pillow, a sleeping bag and one bag of chips, just so they feel that they have something to eat whenever it comes to dire straits and we will be staying out here in the football field all night no matter how cold it gets, no matter how uncomfortable they get," Tibbets said.

Senior Eli Franco says he never thought of the homeless situation as a growing problem until one day he saw a homeless man begging for food and sadly he's come to realize the problem also lies within his school.

"Some of the students here are homeless that we found out, we don't know who but some of the teachers told us about it," Franco said.

Although they will only be living in a homeless situation for one night, both Mrs. Tibbets and her students want to learn some valuable lessons.

"What is it really like? What do we take for granted and what can we do better in our own lives so that we don't take those things for granted and we remember that there are those that are less fortunate," Tibbets said.

"There's people who actually live like this for years and probably don't even make it. I want this to show them that they need help because I know if all of us work together we can help them out," Franco said.