How These Teens Are Helping The Homeless & Saving The Environment

Inspired by a similar art project she saw, Michigan's Three Rivers High School art teacher Ashley Eby came up with an idea to help the local homeless. With the help of students and the National Honor Society at Three Rivers High School, they came up with a plan to knit sleeping mats for the homeless out of recyclable plastic bags. This is an issue that hits close to home for students since 4-5% of their student population is known to be homeless.

"Just thinking about a person next to me in class leaving school but not really 'going home' is a horrible thought," Morgan Launsbury, a high school junior working on the project.

Students throughout the school are collecting the bags, creating the plarn (plastic yarn) and, with the help of parent and community volunteers, knitting the mats. It about takes 500-700 bags to make one 6-foot by 4-foot mat, a size someone could lay on to sleep. As of right now, they plan to make 880 mats!

"We need to pay attention to the homeless because they're a part of us too," high school junior Jonathan Scare told us. "It's not just here in this school. It expands throughout the country and the world."

Although their "Mile of Mats" goal is still out of reach, they are plugging away and just had their first distribution to local homeless. Not only are they making an impact, but also getting support from people all around the country; people are sending in mats they have made as well!

"This is a project that is opening our students eyes to the homeless, out in the world and those around us," Carrie Balk, the principal of Three Rivers High School. "It is a project that will be a part of our school for years to come."

This video was produced by Lucia Nazzaro and shot/edited by Istvan Lettang.

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