By Kat Kaderabek
Organizations such as Street Sense Media are working towards ending homelessness in the greater D.C. area through various events and media platforms.
Street Sense is a non-profit organization which employs those suffering from homelessness to tell their own stories and experiences through the selling of their newspaper. The organization believes “that while housing and economic opportunity are distributed unevenly, talent and creativity are distributed equally, without regard to income or housing status.”
According to statistics from Greater Greater Washington, there were over 7,000 homeless people in Washington D.C. as of 2017. Whether through print production or online marketing, Street Sense tells the stories of these people struggling with homelessness.
Jeff Gray, the communications manager at Street Sense, highlighted the greatest aspects of the organization in an interview, saying, “Street Sense is built around the idea that ending homelessness depends on building a connection between the larger community and the people experiencing homelessness. Those that we employ earn an income, which is important for stabilizing one’s life. They contribute to the newspaper and the other media channels in order to get their voices heard. This is a critical step in breaking down stereotypes, showing that people who experience homeless are not all the same type of person or suffering from the same type of problems.”
Street Sense has only been growing since its inception in 2003. “Recently, our biggest accomplishment is that we’ve formally evolved from a small non-profit into a modern multi-media center,” stated Gray. The organization has evolved to share its stories through film, photography, poetry, theater, and print. By expanding the ways of sharing stories, Street Sense is able to reach a wider audience and a greater influence in the community. “It also gives the people that we work with different ways to share their stories, not just in writing,” he explained. The organization embraced the idea that growing the organization is key and to do this they needed to reach a digital audience. Now, the organization runs a website, along with several social media platforms, and newsletters that keep the voices of the homeless prevalent and reachable.
Street Sense is now looking for interns to further expand their influence in D.C. society. The daily life at Street Sense is varied and extremely educational.
“We wear a lot of different hats,” Gray described. “There is not one standard day-to-day. Each day provides opportunity to learn a lot and help the organization in a variety of different ways.”
As an intern, responsibilities include helping share stories to digital audience, working with the staff and editorial team, and telling stories about the organization and how it is helping people. Daily activities would include managing social media accounts, sending informative emails, writing an article for the website, and scheduling content on Facebook and twitter. Each member of the staff is constantly working towards the goal of ending homelessness through the education of society about the needs and struggles of those suffering from poverty. Working alongside those suffering from homelessness, Street Sense Media holds true that “we define ourselves through our work, talents and character, not through our housing situation.”
Ultimately, the goal of Street Sense Media is to bring awareness and aid to those within the community who are struggling with homelessness and all that it entails. These people are our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers. They need our help. It is organizations like Street Sense Media and its employees that devote their time and passion towards a cause so worthy of attention and understanding.
Applications for an internship opportunity are due: November 15 (spring), April 1 (summer), and August 15 (fall)
Please email a resume and any samplings of work to Jeff Gray: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to visit their website for more information: https://www.streetsensemedia.org/