Sixth-graders at College Place Elementary School read notes that were written to accompany blankets the students were planning to give out to people experiencing homelessness. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Sixth-graders at College Place Elementary School read notes that were written to accompany blankets the students were planning to give out to people experiencing homelessness. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

School lesson reveals unexpected face of homelessness

It inspired the sixth-grade class’s legacy project — Blankets of Hope — at College Place Elementary.

LYNNWOOD — A lesson on teen activism for the sixth-grade class at College Place Elementary School uncovered an unexpected face of homelessness for some of the students.

Classmate Trevion Brown revealed that his family had been homeless for nearly two years.

He told his fellow students his mother didn’t have a drug or alcohol problem, but was just going through tough times.

“That moment shifted what homelessness was to them,” said Angie Carkeek, a sixth-grade teacher at College Place. “It just changed their perspective.”

Trevion’s story helped to break down stereotypes, Carkeek said, prompting many students to reevaluate their attitudes.

That was one of the goals of the lesson, which then inspired the class’s legacy project — Blankets of Hope.

The students partnered with the New York-based group Blankets of Hope to deliver 80 purple blankets accompanied by handwritten notes to their homeless neighbors. The national organization was started by two brothers motivated to take action after passing by the same homeless people every day as they went to work.

As homelessness becomes more visible closer to home, Carkeek and her fellow sixth-grade teachers at College Place wanted to challenge their own stereotypes along with those of their students.

During the lesson, sixth-grader Matta Jallow was surprised by just how many teenagers are left without housing after family disagreements.

Aliya Estrada was sad to learn that people experiencing homelessness are often ignored.

“We are all people. I’d want people to talk to me,” Aliya said.

“People judge them for the way they look,” added Esmerald Rangel, a student in the class.

There’s usually more to their story than what can be seen, she said.

After the lesson, the blankets and notes were distributed. Some were given out at YWCA’s Pathways for Women, an emergency shelter in Lynnwood, while others were provided at a community dinner hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church. Some of the kids choose to hand deliver the blanket and note.

In her letter, sixth-grader Malia Hebert wrote: “There is someone in the world that cares.”

Other messages read, “You are a sprout that bloomed in winter,” and “I know you are going through tough times.”

In Trevion’s note, he said what he would have wanted to hear when his family was without a permanent home:

“Things are going to get better. The sun will shine again. From love and hope.”

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.

More in Local News

School closures and late starts for Friday

Check back for updates, or with your school for the latest information.

Washington Supreme Court OKs lesser version of carbon cap

The Clean Air Rule had been struck down by a lower court after it was challenged by business groups.

Coming Sunday: Unauthorized marinas on the Snohomish River

This week on “Herald Headlines,” reporter Joey Thompson previews a story about boats parked illegally.

Dog found dead after mini storage fire in Snohomish

Snohomish County Fire District 4 said firefighters didn’t find anyone in three damaged units.

Nurses at Swedish say they’ll deliver 10-day strike notice

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW announced Thursday members will file a strike notice at each hospital campus.

Whidbey port working on overnight ferry parking in Mukilteo

A parking garage has been discussed for more than a decade. Now it finally might happen.

Front Porch

EVENTS Hitchcock film fest The Whidbey Island Film Festival’s “The Master of… Continue reading

A nuclear research facility is about to open in Everett

TerraPower, an energy firm founded by Bill Gates, will open a 65,000-square-foot lab near Paine Field.

Body of Snohomish elementary teacher found near Mill Creek

Kathleen Jenks’ death from hypothermia was determined to be an accident. She’d been missing two days.

Most Read