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February 5, 2014
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Student volunteers aid county homelessness assessment

Six Bowie State University students volunteered with the Prince George’s County social services department last week to assess the scope of homelessness in the county, as part of a federal effort to reduce the nation’s homeless population.

Carrying warm blankets and shopping bags of survival kits, the students worked in teams on Wednesday to locate people who did not have a place to stay that night and complete surveys to gather their demographic data. Counties across the United States also conducted the annual homeless assessment on the same day. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will use that information to estimate the extent of homelessness on any given day, which will help social services agencies find better ways of serving those individuals.

Led by their professor, Dr. Joseph Spears, the Bowie State students got an up-close glimpse of homelessness in a way that none of them had experienced before. Dr. Spears, an assistant professor of sport management, sought to provide the students with a learning experience that would inform their understanding of community issues. View photos of Dr. Spears and his students.

He said that while as sport management professionals, most of the students will eventually work for for-profit companies. The service project was an introduction to a semester-long focus on how health and hygiene issues affect their communities.

The student volunteers were:

  • - Richard Brooks, of Clarksburg, Md.
    - Marvin Johnson, of Brooklyn, Md.
    - Troy Jones, of Washington, D.C.
    - Jasmine Lilly, of Washington, D.C.
    - Jerome Sheldon, of Owings Mills, Md.
    - Jordan Watkins, of Owings Mills, Md.

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