By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Teens get taste of homelessness
Placeholder Image

Starting Thursday, if you're headed toward the North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville, take a drive behind the stores, too.

You'll find a group of kids camped out there not to experience the joys of nature, but to experience life as a homeless person.

The Cardboard City project, organized by North Georgia Church, Harbor Worship Center and Church of the Apostles, will set the kids up with a cardboard box for three days. Participants will bring their own sleeping bag, pillow and clothing, and the experience will let them better appreciate and understand what it's like to be homeless, said Luke Syfert, associate and youth pastor at North Georgia Church in Dawsonville.

The idea started from a project Syfert did while in seminary, he said, and came up recently among discussions related to the recent economic crisis.

"What if we created slums for teenagers ... (to) experience coldness and rely on others to bring food," he said. "Just to live stripped down for a few days, like Jesus lived."

There will be live music from 6 to 8 p.m. each night, and the public is invited Thursday and Friday nights. There will also be information available on ways to help the local homeless population.

Syfert added he hoped the experience - which is also without phones, iPods or laptops - will give kids an appreciation for living below the poverty level.

"Our main goal is to bring awareness of poverty to the teens around them," he said. "We want teens who live above the poverty line to realize there is a line."

Regional events