“We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community.” —Dorothy Day

For the millions of children around the world—2.5 million in just the United States alone 1—who face homelessness, that “long loneliness” is all too familiar a feeling.

Fortunately, there are people like Giselle Burgess on a mission to bring community and empowerment back into these children’s lives. It’s a remarkable story.

Image: A little girl smiling happily at the camera

Source: Pixabay

In New York City, over 22,900 children will be homeless at some point this year 2. For those kids, knowing what next week will bring, who they will see, and where they will be is often an uncertainty. Equally challenging is finding consistent friends, peers, and mentors. Thankfully, since February of 2017, a new troop of Girl Scouts has been opening its doors in the New York City shelter system—providing girls with a stable, friendly, and empowering space.

“I wanted to make sure no other girls felt the way that my daughters did.”
—Giselle Burgess, Troop 6000 Founder

Troop 6000 was founded by Giselle Burgess, who, after experiencing homelessness with her children, wanted to find a way to introduce Girl Scouting to the New York City shelter system.

Her’s is a story of finding beautiful answers to tough problems and bringing empowerment to those who often feel most alone. Great Big Story shines a spotlight on this hero.

“We’re giving them a different type of family…this moment in their life doesn’t define them.”

We’ve paired this video with thought-provoking discussion questions perfect for the classroom in this touchstone on our education platform, EWCed!

Family, so much of the time, is chosen. The communities we are a part of and build around us offer support when we need it most. Most importantly, they are a place for us to center our own efforts to care, give, and work towards solving the problems we face.

Finding our communities and developing them is a part of what makes us uniquely human. Sometimes, the best we can do for others is to welcome them into a community—leting them feel seen, and their identity and presence acknowledged. You’ve probably felt the warmth of that community embrace. And, hopefully, felt it lift you when you needed it most.

12 minutes

Libraries on the Front Lines of Homelessness

Public libraries are finding novel and wonderful new roles in our communities despite the evolving digital world. Here is one that has it all: it makes the best of elements that were in plain sight and the model can apply to all kinds of problem-solving.

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If you’d like to learn more about Troop 6000, please visit their website!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

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Notes:

  1. Bassuk, Ellen L, et al. “Services Matter: How Housing & Services Can End Family Homelessness.” The Bassuk Center, 2015. Accessed 13 Nov. 2018.
  2. “Basic Facts About Homelessness: New York City.” Coalition For The Homeless, www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/basic-facts-about-homelessness-new-york-city/. Accessed 13 Nov. 2018.
  3. “Homeless Girl Scouts Find Home Amongst Each Other.” Great Big Story, YouTube, 19 Aug. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6JVYgG1xPA. Accessed 13 Nov. 2018.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV

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