Challenges People Face

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Keywords & Concepts: 

The youth reflect on basic needs that may be difficult to meet when one doesn’t have a home. They take action by creating personal hygiene kits or asking a local nonprofit how they can help support their efforts to assist people who are homeless.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session, Plus time to plan and carry out a service project

The learners will:

  • reflect on personal routines in the context of not having a home.
  • take action based on identified needs in support of a local nonprofit organization.
Teacher Preparation 

Note: Be sensitive to the personal experience of the young people. Some may be currently homeless. The lesson may generate discussion that may make them feel uncomfortable, or it may provide the empathy to allow them to discuss the issue in a safe environment.

  • homelessness: condition and social category of people without a regular house or dwelling because they cannot afford, do not desire, or are otherwise unable to maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence."
  • service: contribution to the welfare of others
  • philanthropy: giving time, talent and/or treasure and taking action for the common good

How can you communicate with others about the issue of homelessness to make a difference? How might you get others to care about and act on this issue?


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask youth to write a bulleted list describing their morning or evening routine, including the use of clothing, make-up, cleansing products, electric appliances, food-preparation supplies, and rooms in their home. Note: be sensitive to youth who may not have the privilege of the supplies for these routines. 

  2. Discuss the challenges people in a Western culture might face that go along with not having a place to live.

    Here is a list (for background) that comes from Wikipedia:

    • Personal security, quiet, and privacy, especially for sleeping
    • Safekeeping of bedding, clothing and possessions, which may have to be carried at all times
    • Hygiene and shaving facilities
    • Cleaning and drying clothes
    • Obtaining, preparing and storing food in small quantities
    • Keeping contacts, without a permanent location or mailing address
    • Hostility and legal powers against urban vagrancy.
    • Reduced access to health care and dental services.
    • Limited access to education.
    • Increased risk of suffering from violence and abuse.
    • General rejection or discrimination from other people.
    • Loss of usual relationships with the mainstream
    • Not being seen as suitable for employment.
    • Reduced access to banking services
    • Reduced access to communications technology
  3. This resource about a youth drop-in center may provide awareness and a step toward youth contacting a local nonprofit that serves people who are homeless. 

    Encourage them to call a local shelter to ask about needs that they, as a group, may be able to address. The needs may be collectible items (toiletries, socks, blankets) or services (reading to children, babysitting, computer training).

  4. As a group, select a service project based on needs, interests, and talents. Make a plan and carry it out.

  5. For example, they may choose to make personal hygiene kits to donate. The kits may include items such as deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush, shampoo, soap, and wet wipes. Many local businesses may be willing to donate supplies or donate money for this project. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Locate and map civil society organizations in the community.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify different types of communities with which an individual might identify.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Provide a needed service.
    4. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Develop a service plan.