The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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New organization aims to provide relief for the homeless

Photo by Photo by Dalia Muayad

Electric systems engineering technology junior Stephanie Herman discusses her organization that has its roots from an experience in high school. 

United in their commitment to serve the community, Helping Others Meet Ends (H.O.M.E.) is a new group determined to improve the quality of life for homeless people in the Brazos Valley and beyond.
H.O.M.E. became a recognized student organization in May and is now in the process of planning their first semester of service initiatives. Initially founded with the goal to aid the homeless population in the Bryan-College Station area, the group’s focus shifted after Hurricane Harvey hit. This semester, the team is partnering with both local organizations and Houston service groups to assist anyone they can, with goals to eventually grow into a self sustaining organization in the coming years.
The idea for this group came from Stephanie Herman, electronic systems engineering technology junior and founder and president of H.O.M.E., and her experience serving the homeless when she was in high school.
“Going into my senior year of high school I went on a service trip to Boston and I had been partnered with organizations that helped the homeless,” Herman said. “It’s something that I had never been exposed to before and it really changed my life. The two hours that truly changed my life were when I went out to the streets of downtown Boston and begged for money. Ever since then it has been a passion of mine.”
Since H.O.M.E. is still in its beginning stages as a student organization, Herman said they are partnering with other organizations such as the 12th Can and the Muslim Student Association to get started. Computer science junior and Community Service Coordinator, Paige Raun said H.O.M.E. has many projects planned for this semester.
“We are working on getting a toy drive set up right now and since we are a new organization we are also working on a lot of paperwork,” Raun said. “We are also going to have a work day with the Houston Coalition for the Homeless where we will go in and help rebuild shelters that were harmed from Harvey. In the future we want to work with local organizations to do service days in Bryan and College Station but since a lot of us and even people in the leadership of this organization were affected by Harvey we have been really channeling that.”
Herman said H.O.M.E. is an important student organization because there are currently no others serving the same purpose ­— dedicated to serving the homeless.
“I felt like this is important because many Aggies come from large cities or will work in large cities in the future, and large cities are where the homeless tend to congregate so it’s best if we know how to help them,” Herman said.
This opportunity for involvement is important and helps students have a new level of compassion for others, according to H.O.M.E. Advocacy Coordinator and engineering freshman Kevin Duan.
“My parents came here in the mid 1990s with about five hundred dollars to their name so they lived on welfare,” Duan said. “I’ve never had the misfortune of being homeless myself, but we were living off probably a hundred dollars a month — more or less living off welfare. I’ve had plenty of chances to go back to where I grew up and it really strikes and makes me realize how much I take for granted now. As far as H.O.M.E., I think it is a great way to get involved with the community and help those who don’t have the same kind of things that we do.”
Since H.O.M.E. is still growing and currently has 14 members, Herman said the opinions of each member is highly valued when decisions are being made for the future of the group.
“We are so small so it’s really nice because [new members] have a huge amount of input in what we do,” Herman said. “I don’t want people to show up and we just tell them what to do. If they are passionate about something they they get to lead the way at something that could feed their passion.”
There are no deadlines for joining H.O.M.E., so anyone interested is able to get involved throughout the semester, according to Herman.
“Everything has its own reason and we are here to try helping other people,” Hoyeol Kim, H.O.M.E. member and English Ph.D. student, said. “People who come to join are able to understand others better. We are not only physically helping other people but we also learn a lot ourselves by helping.”

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