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.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

Bothell
2 injured in Bothell Everett Highway crash

The highway was briefly reduced to one northbound lane while police investigated the three-car crash Saturday afternoon.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
On I-5 in Everett, traffic nightmare is reminder we’re ‘very vulnerable’

After a police shooting shut down the freeway, commutes turned into all-night affairs. It was just a hint of what could be in a widespread disaster.

Anthony Brock performs at Artisans PNW during the first day of the Fisherman’s Village Music Fest on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At downtown Everett musical festival: ‘Be weird and dance with us’

In its first night, Fisherman’s Village brought together people who “might not normally be in the same room together” — with big acts still to come.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Judge reduces bail for driver accused of killing Marysville trooper

After hearing from Raul Benitez Santana’s family, a judge decreased bail to $100,000. A deputy prosecutor said he was “very disappointed.”

Pet detective Jim Branson stops to poke through some fur that Raphael the dog found while searching on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Everett, Washington. Branson determined the fur in question was likely from a rabbit, and not a missing cat.(Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lost a pet? Pet detective James Branson and his dogs may be able to help

James Branson, founder of Three Retrievers Lost Pet Rescue, helps people in the Seattle area find their missing pets for $350.

Whidbey Renaissance Faire volunteers pose in their costumes. (Photo by Bree Eaton)
Faire thee well: Renaissance is coming to Whidbey Island

The volunteer-run fair May 25 and 26 will feature dancers, a juggler, ‘Fakespeare,’ various live music shows and lots of food.

Community Transit leaders, from left, Chief Communications Officer Geoff Patrick, Zero-Emissions Program Manager Jay Heim, PIO Monica Spain, Director of Maintenance Mike Swehla and CEO Ric Ilgenfritz stand in front of Community Transit’s hydrogen-powered bus on Monday, May 13, 2024, at the Community Transit Operations Base in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New hydrogen, electric buses get trial run in Snohomish County

As part of a zero-emission pilot program from Community Transit, the hydrogen bus will be the first in the Puget Sound area.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Video: Man charged at trooper, shouting ‘Who’s the boss?’ before shooting

The deadly shooting shut down northbound I-5 near Everett for hours. Neither the trooper nor the deceased had been identified as of Friday.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Road rage, fatal police shooting along I-5 blocks traffic near Everett

An attack on road workers preceded a report of shots fired Thursday, snarling freeway traffic in the region for hours.

The Port of Everett and Everett Marina on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Is Port of Everett’s proposed expansion a ‘stealth tax?’ Judge says no

A Snohomish resident lost a battle in court this week protesting what he believes is a misleading measure from the Port of Everett.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.