While the Office for Urban Initiatives at Fuller Seminary has been providing students with the opportunity to participate in the annual City of Pasadena homeless count since 2005, it now is offering a different project that can involve students for more than just 24-hours.
"The Snapshots project does a count of homeless persons, panhandlers and loiterers over a period of two weeks," said Dr. Joe Colletti, executive director of the Office for Urban Initiatives. "This information helps the city gain insight into changes or fluctuations of homeless in certain locations throughout different times of the day, days of the week, and seasons of the year. It also gives Fuller students a chance to be engaged for a longer amount of time-engaging with each other, and with the city."
This project is repeated on a quarterly basis throughout the year. All students are welcome to volunteer.
International student Pramil Aruldoss (MAICS) was one of the volunteers in the month of November. He says he decided to volunteer because he wanted to partner with Fuller in "contributing towards the betterment of the life of the marginalized society."
"After attending the first orientation meeting with Urban Initiatives, I was impressed and greatly encouraged by the number of urban issues that they were engaged with and wanted to engage with," Aruldoss said. "From this experience, I definitely got a better understanding of the landscape of Pasadena. I also learned where the areas of highest concentration of homeless people were. As such, whenever I pass by these areas now, it's become more a reflex action for me to keep my eyes open for homeless people and for opportunities to reach out to them in any way that I can."
The volunteers that Fuller has provided for this project have provided the City of Pasadena with a wealth of valuable information. Last week's 2014 Pasadena Homeless Count was covered by two local news outlets and heralded as extremely beneficial for the city to find tangible ways to help the homeless.
Anne Lansing, who supervises all of the homeless programs for the City of Pasadena said, "We are grateful for the partnership of Fuller Seminary to support the City of Pasadena in its effort to serve all of our diverse populations. Fuller and the Office for Urban Initiatives have demonstrated what it is to be good partners and neighbors."
The Office for Urban Initiatives is currently looking for volunteers to help with the Snapshots project February 17 - March 2, 2014. If you would like to participate, contact Janice Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org.