These College Kids Are Heroes to Homeless Vets

Inspiring 6

homelessAdults love to go on and on about how we're so charitable, and kids today are so gosh darn greedy. But what do we adults really do? OK, we give money, but I'm going to break it to you: pulling out a checkbook has nothing on volunteering to live on the streets for four whole nights to raise awareness of the plight of homeless veterans.

And yet, a plan to do just this comes out of the home of today's "greedy," "spoiled," and "disaffected" youth: a college campus. Kids who attend the University of South Dakota are  voluntarily spending night after night in a cardboard box with no showers, eating only what's donated, this week.

Honestly, I'm not surprised. Every year I shave my head to fight childhood cancer for the St. Baldrick's Foundation (usually in March, but I've put it off until September this year in honor of childhood cancer month), and every year the number of teenagers in the room far outnumber the adults ... at least in terms of giving up their hair. Most of my funds come in from adults because we have the discretionary income, but it's the kids making the real sacrifices.

A good lesson for parents who are despairing about the greedy kid asking for the new iPad, isn't it? If you asked your kid if they'd go sleep on the streets for a cause or push a broom around the local community center, have you raised them well enough to actually do it? Are they really so selfish they won't get their hands dirty for some good? They might surprise you!

Meanwhile, we adults are, by and large, set in our ways. If push came to shove, I'll be honest, I don't think I'd be as ready as these kids are to go live on the streets -- even though I believe in their cause. Our men and women who serve deserve better than a life on the streets. But I'm a mother. I like my blankets and my pillows. I love my shower and my deodorant.

Selfish? Yes. In that sense I am. And that's what I love about kids. Given the chance, 9 times out of 10, kids are very giving on themselves and their bodies. They haven't gotten too comfortable or set in their ways. They'll do stuff like give up showers and good food for four days for the men and women who have given so much to this country.

By the way, for their efforts, the students in South Dakota hope to earn pledges for hours spent living like the 67,000 or more veterans on the streets in America -- they'll use the funds to help support a local shelter for vets. To help them out, you can e-mail or send a donation to USD Veterans Club, C/O SAC Office/MUC, 414 E. Clark St., Vermillion, SD 57069. Maybe you'll send a pledge -- because that's the adult way. Or maybe a cheer for what youth can do?

What incredible things have you seen teenagers do in your community?


Image via Aoife city womanchile/Flickr

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Tisha Post

These kids could teach some adults how to truely give til it hurts to support the veterans that gave them the freedoms that they enjoy today.

Sidthe Sidthe

Hell yah! Way to go USD!!! SoDak teens/college kids are some of the best as far as fundraising. All of the high schools participate in the Polar Plunge and they raise money and food for the homeless. During Christmas they bring in toys to donate to Toys for Tots and clothes/old coats and hats.

(If you didn't guess I live in SoDak with personal experiences)

Maevelyn Maevelyn

Community service was required to move to the next grade at my high school and some kids blew it off and did as little as possible but most got really into it. You were required to perform 20 hours (which isn't a lot) but most kids did about 100. The most popular was being a councilor at Camp I am Special, which was a camp for kids, teens and adults with low IQ or physical disability. The rule of thumb was that you didn't want a camper who barley qualified to go on bc they were on the higher end of the spectrum bc they knew how to work the system and cause trouble (some not all.) most of us would never have done any of this stuff but it lead to some really great experiences. 

heave... heavenlybliss19

oooooh, ok!  this makes sense now.  see, I think some of the college kids here in MO musta heard about this and decided to do it.  Went to walmart the other day, noticed right away something was weird.  Teens and 20-somethings all over the parking lot, by the road, everywhere.  Holding signs, playin acoustic guitars.... I knew something was up!  Now I feel bad for makin my joke about how we were bein over run with hippies (think of the South Park episode...)  

nonmember avatar Ryan

I tried to get the same message across

myself a few days ago on obama for americas virginia facebook website. Not a single comment back. (www.facebook/ Then i came across this page. As a vet myself i cant tell you how frustrating it is to see videos claiming to uphold the "sacred trust" to servicemembers. It seems nobody in washington really cares unless something goes viral, makes the news, and they are actually forced to do something about it to save face. Great job to the youth of this country that show their support. It is actions like theirs that made my service worth all the sacrifices. Thank you.

nonmember avatar Charles Foster

No. We should not be giving these kids any credit. Why are there so many problems with these newer so called veterans. Real men from WW2 never had these problems.

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