Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Audrey Falk

Second Advisor

Melissa Nemon

Abstract

Homelessness effects 17 out of every 10,000 people in the United States, and approximately 22 out of every 10,000 people in the city of Asheville, NC. Homeward Bound of Western North Carolina (HBWNC) is a nonprofit organization working to prevent and end homelessness in Asheville through low-barrier services and Housing First practices. HBWNC relies on volunteers from the community and higher education institutions for support in running its programs. While most volunteer training focuses on the day-to-day tasks, boundaries, and procedures related to volunteering with HBWNC, this project focuses on the importance of giving volunteers a solid understanding of homelessness as a social justice issue, and how volunteer positionality, experience, and implicit bias may impact their interactions with the clients they serve. This project focuses on training prospective volunteers through a workshop facilitated at two different higher education institutions in the Asheville area. The goal of the workshop was to introduce the concepts of complex personhood, intersectionality, and desire-centered frameworks with the goal of laying the groundwork for critical service-learning experiences that move participants beyond simple volunteerism by encouraging them to think deeply about their work, its value, and how this work holds importance in a social justice context.

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