October 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Bridges Outreach, Inc. will host its fourth annual Teens Tackle Homelessness Conference on Saturday, November 10, from 3:30 to 6:30 at Kent Place School on 42 Norwood Avenue in Summit, NJ. The conference was created by Bridges to further educate our many teen volunteers and other interested high school students about causes and issues related to homelessness. The conference is specifically designed for high school students with a steering committee of thirty high school students from area high schools. Register online at www.bridgesoutreach.org. No fee for advance registration.
New Jersey State Senator and former Governor, Richard J. Codey will give the keynote presentation. Senator Codey has been a champion of the homeless and in March 2012, went undercover in Newark posing as a homeless man looking for shelter. Codey says that his research uncovered a broken system that makes it impossible for homeless men to find shelter if they suffer from a mental illness or lack government aid.
The keynote will be followed by workshop sessions of the “Just Neighbors” program designed by Family Promise of Summit, NJ. Each session is an interactive learning experience with the participant putting themselves in the place of someone experiencing homelessness and making difficult choices.
A panel of seven people who have personally experienced homelessness will give students an opportunity to engage in discussion with the panelists. “Homelessness moves from a theoretical discussion to a very real problem when they meet people who have personally experienced homelessness,” says Lois Bhatt, Executive Director of Bridges.
Christine Carter, President and Found of Against All Odds will give the endnote presentation. As a child, Ms. Carter was a ward of the state’s child welfare system. Against all odds, she earned her bachelor and master’s degrees from Norfolk State University. At the age of 24, she founded Against All Odds, a non-for-profit multi-service agency serving at risk children and underserved families throughout the State of New Jersey.