The Colby Volunteer center, in conjunction with the Goldfarb Center and the Pugh Community Board, hosted their first panel in CVC history – “Realities of Youth Homelessness in Maine.” The three panelists were Bodhi Simpson, clinician at the Teen Parent Program and at the Alternative High School in Waterville; Tony Veit, Youth Outreach Program Coordinator; and Betty Palmer, Director of the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter.
The evening began with a thought-provoking dinner in Diamond. The attendees included the panelists, other community members, select faculty, and students. One student shared her personal experience with homelessness, while many of the other guests discussed the issue in an intimate setting over dinner.
Afterwards, the event began! Dana Roberts moderated the panel, using questions that the Colby community submitted. Each panelist defined their role in the community to launch the conversation. The group covered topics such as “couch-surfing,” the stigma attached to the term “homeless,” and anecdotes from their experiences. Lastly, the panelists urged the Colby community to get involved – to volunteer at MidMaine, to donate to the campaign, or to contact the CVC for more opportunities.
This event exposed how great the need in this community is for a new shelter and for the construction of a youth shelter. Runaway or homeless youth occupy one of the most vulnerable populations in the United States, and they deserve our support.