Neighbors Project club reaches out to the homeless community

SEYCHELLES MIZEL, Channels Staff

The Neighbors Project acknowledges the fact that roughly four percent of City College students are currently homeless.

The club’s main goals are to make sure that homeless students and Santa Barbara residents are aware of the resources available to them and to the homeless lives easier.

“Joining a club with students interested in helping others make us like minded,” said Crystal Poggio, one of three Neighbors Project secretaries. “I can’t wait to see how our club will grow and contribute to the lives of others.”

In 2014, Santa Barbara County had the second highest percentage of homeless students in the state, according to a report by the California Homeless Youth Project.

The NeighborsProject wants all homeless students to know that they are not alone and have help on campus for whatever they could possibly need. The club wants to offer a support group where people can come together, share their stories and help each other. It also provide computer help to those that need help with government assistant logistics or registering for programs.

“When I first heard about the Neighbors Project and the outreach they intend to do in the community, I knew it was the club for me,” Poggio said.

During the club’s first meeting on Thursday, Aug. 31, Club Advisor Robert Fischer listed ideas for the club and programs that they could imagine cooperating with.

“We have a number of organizations on campus that want to work with us,” said Fischer.

Fischer listed several both off and on-campus organizations he hopes to work with on this journey including, but not limited to  Transition House, Doctors Without Walls, SB Safe Parking Program, New Beginnings Counseling Center, and various other City College clubs.

The club also brainstormed ideas of projects throughout the semester, such as having a field trip to Doctors Without Walls, pay a laundromat to wash homeless people’s clothes and holding support groups or fundraisers.

“Being in the club allows me to do what I love, helping people, and it allows me to give back to my community,’’ said club secretary Angela Phanor.

During their recent meeting, the Neighbors Project elected Melissa Ausanka-Crues as the new club president. Ausanka-Crues currently works with Doctors Without Walls as a logistic coordinator.

“You should most definitely join this club because you’re helping and reaching out to a lot of the homeless students around campus in a fun, positive way,” Phanor said.

The club will meet every other Thursday from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. in Earth and Biological Science Building Room 201. Their next meeting will be Sept. 28.