Nursing Students See Poverty Up Close on Field Trip
Posted at: 04/08/2013 5:07 PM
| Updated at: 04/08/2013 10:36 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
For six years, CHUM has brought groups on a 5-hour journey up and down Duluth's hillside, visiting homeless shelters. The tour is called "Expanding Horizons."
Monday, a group of nursing students from Lake Superior College immersed themselves in poverty while walking in the elements from shelter to shelter. The tour is part of their coursework and understanding human behavior.
CHUM Congregational Outreach Director, Liz Olson, said the walk is a "really intentional" walk of what it would be like to live on the margins.
A recent study conducted by Wilder Research, found more than 900 people are homeless in the Duluth area. Olson said those statistics are bleak but recognizing the reality can help reverse the trend.
"That's where "Expanding Horizons" comes in, naming the reality and once you name it we can't turn a blind eye to it anymore," said Olson.
The nursing students met early Monday for their tour at CHUM's Food Shelf. Many of the students said they weren't sure what to expect.
"It was kind of early, but then this is what they do day to day, they get up when they can and start searching," said nursing student, Heather Ackman.
From the food shelf they walked up to Damiano to serve soup and then over to San Marco, a safe place off the streets for those battling alcohol addiction. CHUM's Shelter and Life House Youth Center finished up the tour. With no breaks and no food, the students said they were hungry, but it was an eye-opening experience.
"Walking around and realizing this is what homeless people do everyday," said student, Tami Brethorst. "They walk around looking for a place to stay, looking for food."
Another student, Emily Helmer, added that she had always heard about homelessness in Duluth but now that she has seen it up close, she won't ignore the need. Many students said they hope to volunteer in one of the shelters now that they have seen what goes on inside.