For my senior project I worked with Andra Hansen and VOICE Advocacy to put on a resource fair and community conversation in Idaho Falls on March 22. The resource fair showcased 20 different organizations who provide resources and support for individuals experiencing homelessness. Our goal was to have a good mix of community leaders, resource providers, homeless individuals, and members of the public attend this event. The purpose of this event was to cultivate collaboration and identify constructive actions for homelessness.
Along with the resource fair we hosted a Community Conversation. This is an opportunity for members of the community to come together and discuss important topics and work towards creating change. This Community Conversation focused on three topic areas: 1) Urgent need for food, clothing, shelter. 2) Substance use disorders, resources, and support. 3) Policing safety and support. Each topic discussion was led by one or more facilitators who are experts in that area.
Leading up to the event, I also coordinated a service project to create hygiene kits for the homeless. These items were available for homeless individuals who came to the event.
This is a huge event, and we have a lot of great people we worked with, including the Idaho Falls City Council, Idaho Falls Police Department, Center for Hope, and United Way. My responsibilities included finding sponsors willing to donate to our service project, running the service project, managing all the student volunteers running the event, managing the budget, finding people who wanted booths, helping to run the Community Conversation, and many other things that were required to make this event happen.
This project was a wonderful opportunity to work with community members to try to make a real difference. It was incredibly encouraging to see how excited people were about this event and how much many people in Idaho Falls and the surrounding area care about this issue.