Kennedy’s Homeless Night Creates Awareness


Brianna Martin

Participating student spent the night in cardboard boxes outside.

Kennedy’s Homeless Night was created when the student government believed it would be a good idea for a project. That first night was held in May 2002, and totaled eight attending students.

As the years progressed, more students have taken part in the event. Kennedy Homeless Night 2021 drew 31 students. Though this year’s night was smaller in comparison to past years, which sometimes surpassed 60 attendees, student government still collected over fourteen hundred dollars. The profits will go to the priority shelters Willis Dady Shelter and Waypoint.

Joseph Benedict, the advisor of student government, was unsure how popular the event would be in 2021, since it was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19. To maximize their numbers, Benedict made sure Homeless Night wouldn’t interfere with football by allowing 90 minutes between the game and the start of the night.

Most years, some complain that students are not educated enough on what it’s like to actually be homeless. Even though Homeless Night’s participants couldn’t truly understand how it is to be homeless, they understood that it was uncomfortable. Students were not allowed to go inside the school to warm up, though they were allowed to use the restrooms when necessary.

“It’s as close as we can come to develop some empathy for the people who are homeless and the shelters. Certainly those who benefit have told us they think it’s a great idea,” said Benedict.

This year, Homeless Night was held on a Friday night instead of the usual Thursday due to the lack of sleep the students and teachers would have gotten during the event. The weekend afterward gave time to relax.

Benedict enjoys seeing the number of students who try to get through the night. Though the night began with 31 attendees, only 21 stayed all night. He believes those students genuinely understand the difficulties homeless people experience, especially in the colder seasons, and how important it is to help others.