Putting together shelters made of cardboard, some bringing small pop up tents and plenty of blankets, the several dozen students gathered at Escalon High School on Friday night got an education.
Their overnight stay at the football field in their makeshift homes was designed to give them some insight into the plight of the homeless, through the Kids in a Box fundraiser. Students get pledges for spending the night out in the elements, and all money raised goes to the Haven of Peace women and children’s shelter in French Camp.
Coordinated through the local Rotary Club in cooperation with the Escalon High School Interact Club – the youth arm of Rotary – the effort saw between 50 and 60 students take part. Escalon, Gregori, Edison and Salida Middle School were among the participants, with chaperones from each school accompanying the students for the night.
“They’re experiencing life out in the open,” said EHS Interact Club Advisor Elizabeth Baldwin. “They will be building their houses, having dinner, listening to a speaker and playing some games.”
Sixteen students from Escalon took part, the majority of them Interact Club members.
“They go around to teachers, friends and family for pledges,” Baldwin said.
Several Escalon Rotary Club members were on hand to help out as well and Haven of Peace Executive Director Olga Rodriguez thanked the students for their participation and offered information about the mission of the haven and who it serves.“You guys are family,” Rodriguez told the assembled students, “and I would love for you to visit.”