To coincide with National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, the Longhorn Legislative Aides are partnering with Street Youth Ministry to host “Feet the Streets,” a monthlong campus-wide sock drive for homeless youth in Austin.
Through Dec. 1, students on campus can donate new or gently used socks at any of the residence halls on campus. The Longhorn Legislative Aides are currently working on incentives and prizes to give out to the groups or individuals who donate the most socks. Longhorn Legislative Aides are hoping to receive at least 5,000 pairs of socks during the month of November.
“UT students walk along the Drag every day alongside homeless youth who we view as a nuisance or a pest, putting our headphones in and avoiding eye contact,” Garrett Mireles, advertising freshman and “Feet the Streets” co-chair of communications, said. “We’re trying to change that perception and reach out across the street from our campus to a community in desperate need of our attention.”
Co-directed by Abigail Griffin, Plan II and government sophomore, and Andrew Bramlett, Plan II and business honors sophomore, the Longhorn Legislative Aides agency is comprised of 21 freshman who work alongside current student government members and outside mentors on projects that range from writing legislation to hosting projects like “Feet the Streets.”
“It’s really amazing for me to see these freshman working to better the community of UT,” Griffin said. “I love that they are so passionate and diligent about an issue that is so noble.”
Street Youth Ministry, founded and directed by Terry Cole, is a nonprofit organization located in West Campus that serves homeless youth on the Drag. Street Youth Ministry helps at least 600 homeless youth and gives out 5,000 pairs of socks each year. Focusing on individuals aged 28 or younger, the organization works to provide food, clothing, toiletries and counseling to the homeless youth they serve.
This is the first time Street Youth Ministry has worked directly with student government organizations on campus. Cole said he hopes the Longhorn Legislative Aides can help increase dialogue about this issue.
“The homeless youth we serve are just like the students on UT’s campus, but with less opportunity.” Cole said. “We’re giving them what’s kind of like a college experience, but without the school. We just want to help them discover who they are and what they want to do so they can move on with their lives.”