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La Jolla, California

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Posted on Nov 06, 2014

Finding the Common Ground

IMG_5476What causes people to be homeless? How many people in San Diego are homeless? How do homeless people feel? These are some of the things that Gillispie fifth graders wondered about prior to a recent service learning field trip.

This month, both Grade 5 classes served lunch to the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul Village in downtown San Diego. The Village provides housing, meals, and a variety of services to members of our local homeless population.

Students learned about food safety and hygiene before preparing to serve lunch. Dressed in aprons, gloves and hair nets, the students cheerfully served lunch to over 300 individuals. The fifth graders served food and drink, helped people carry their lunches to the dining room, and bussed tables. By the end of the lunch service, the students were exhausted and hungry!

Back on campus, students discussed how their view of homeless people had changed. “Homeless people aren’t that different from us,” one student decided. Fifth graders were surprised to see homeless people in formal clothing, families with children, and homeless people using cell phones.

Students also expressed appreciation for their own good fortune: “I feel so grateful that I have a home and a wonderful family.” Many agreed that they would like to return: “It makes you feel good inside.” Giving back to our community gave us a rewarding and meaningful experience that we won’t soon forget.

Heidi Long Grade 5 Teacher
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