I Am Hungry For My Degree

Providing homeless college students with the building blocks needed to create the foundation of their future

Photo of Breanna
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Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

I am stepping up to make a change because there are not enough resources available to ease the difficulties of attending school while homeless. After graduating high school, I became homeless. Though I lived on campus, I constantly struggled to find secure, stable housing during breaks. I had limited access to basic necessities. Despite this adversity, I continued to work towards my academic and career goals, because I was hungry for my degree. When I entered college, despite my circumstances, I proved to myself and everyone that I was not a failure, but a determined scholar. I was one of the 960 Georgia high-school seniors that identified as homeless. These students have likely faced similar struggles, if not worse. However, they continue fighting, working to achieve their degree by any means necessary. I want to support these students, because they are truly hungry for their degree

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

We are making supplies, like toilet paper, lotion, shampoo, and deodorant, more easily accessible to homeless students. Solving this problem relieves a stressful burden from their shoulders, enabling them to save more money, focus more on school, and earn their degree. This problem matters because every student should have access the supplies needed to maintain good hygiene, physical, and mental health.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We would like to solve this lack of resources by creating a “gift-box” of basic necessities. This gift-box would last the student an entire school year. Each gift-box would provide toilet paper, soap, detergent, toothbrushes, towels, hangers, blankets, cleaning supplies, lotion, and several other products. Through thorough research, we calculated that $300 would be able to provide one student with all of these supplies! We will provide this basket to 5 homeless college students from the Tri-City area of Columbus, Georgia. To raise money for supplies, we will apply for grants and contact different corporations about our organization. We will also create engaging fundraisers, giving people the option to either donate both money and items. Through social media, flyers, contests, and email marketing, we will spread the word about this opportunity. Each student who would like to have a gift box must be either homeless or at-risk of being homeless, and we will require proof. We will ask them a variety of questions, and once we decide which students we will provide the box to, we will contact them and begin creating the boxes, which we will likely hand deliver to them.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Three months after being accepted into college, I was homeless. I had no support from family, nor any source of income. I had no way of obtaining any products for myself. Luckily, before school started, a church member provided me with supplies such as dish detergent, washing powder, and hygienic products. Their generosity took less stress from me and allowed me to concentrate on tuition and other academic expenses. If a person gets involved with this project, I believe they would have similar results. Receiving these supplies would allow them to not worry about buying items they need but can hardly afford. Instead of using their money on this, they can focus on saving their money for school or putting their money towards adequate housing.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

While other solutions focus on the larger, more obvious expenses (tuition, food, temporary housing), our approach helps with the expenses that many organizations do not take into consideration. How will these students have what they need to take a shower? Do they have the blankets needed to stay warm in the winter? Do they have the materials needed to maintain proper hygiene? We look at the bigger picture and provide a plausible, inexpensive solution.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We plan to know that we are making a difference by keeping in contact with students. We want to ensure that they are continuing to succeed within their classes and that our supplies played a role in helping them succeed. We would ask students who received products from our organization if there was anything part of the application process that could have been more efficient or if they have any suggestions in the items that we can offer next year. We want to remain open-minded and open for criticism and new ideas. If students are genuinely satisfied with our program and truly benefited from our supplies, we would encourage them to write testimonies that attest to the success of this programs and encourage other students to apply.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

As of right now, we are focusing on helping a small amount of students in the area in which we grew up. We are also only planning to provide the very basic necessities. The next level would be expanding our organization to different areas within Georgia. After the first year, we will have learned how to communicate with corporations, where to go to receive grants, and the best methods of fundraising. We will use this information to our advantage and gather much more resources, which will allow us to focus our efforts on a larger amount of students. In the future, we are also considering providing more expensive necessities, such as computers, suitcases, and printers.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

We will produce a website that gives more information about our organization, homelessness, and how to donate. It will also provide a place for students to apply to the program. In addition, we hope to also create a place on the site for homeless college students to talk with one another. Because of the pervasive stigma, many of these students are suffering in silence. It might be extremely helpful to provide a location where individuals who are suffering through the same situation can communicate with one another. We will need money and space as well. We plan to do fundraisers and ask people within our community to donate. We also plan to apply for grants and contact corporations about our goals.

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

When it comes to fundraising for any cause, we know that simply asking for money or items is generally not the most efficient method of raising money. It also does not create much of a connection between the individual providing the funds and the cause itself. Therefore, we would like to create different interactive fundraisers that not only allow patrons to have fun, but do so while raising money for a great cause. This is where younger leaders like ourselves comes in! From hosting item drives in high schools to facilitating contests, there are a wide variety of ways to raise enough funds or products for our gift boxes. Not only can young adults and teenagers bring their amazing, creative ideas to the table, but they can also play a part in helping us make these ideas a reality, as well as creating the gift boxes themselves.

How did you hear about this challenge?

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Attachments (1)

I Am Hungry For My Degree Brochure.pdf

Brochure template created by Freepik. Pictures from Vecteezy


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kyra

Breanna, I think that this is a great idea that I hope comes to fruition! Your story and determination are very inspiring. To get the toiletries necessary for each participating student, have you considered approaching companies and asking for product donations?

Photo of Breanna

Hey Kyra! Thanks for the feedback. This is definitely something we are considering too

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