Finding a solution for the homeless is the goal that Linda Panetta, Engagements in the Common Good professor, hopes to reach with her 200- level class filled with sophomore students.
Panetta, a photojournalist and founder of Optical Realities Photography, teaches the course Solidarity in Action that helps students become involved in the community specifically through the issue of homelessness.
After three short weeks of the course, Panetta has brought in four speakers who helped clear up basic questions of homelessness.
“I really did choose this course because I knew I would have the opportunity to do something I had never ever done before,” Marcelle Crist, sophomore criminal justice major, said.
According to the students involved, the opportunity to listen to different people with different backgrounds and education took the learning experience to a whole new level.
“This class may be a lot of work but it’s different. We are not sitting in class all day writing essays. We are exploring the world around us and I don’t think many others get this opportunity,” Emma McNamara, sophomore secondary education major, said.
Will O’Brien and Nicki Olivia, volunteer coordinators, were able to meet with the students to discuss Project H.O.M.E. (Housing, Opportunities for Employment, Medical Care and Education), an organization designed to put homeless people into their own place of residency and provide opportunities for them.
Tony Medwid, director of community life at Bethesda Project, partner of Project H.O.M.E., made an appearance to the class to inform students about their organization. Both organizations are two places where students can choose to complete their community service.
Panetta plans to focus her semester-long course on the core values of the homeless organizations and the speakers brought to the curriculum. The course has several more plans for helping the homeless people of the Philadelphia area and follows the centralized theme of H.O.M.E. that is “none of us are home until all of us are home.”