--By Emily Anderson
For just $25 you can learn what it's like to sleep in your car for a night. Add a movie, popcorn, and great volunteers, and you have a great equation.
This Saturday, June 10th beginning at 5 p.m., an almost one-year-old Beaverton non-profit named Family Promise of Beaverton will hold a fundraising event at Beaverton City Fountain Park to teach attendees about its organization. Family Promise of Beaverton's mission is to help homeless families with children in the Beaverton School District obtain housing and find solutions to homelessness. The event ends Sunday, June 11 at 10 a.m. The park is located at 12500 S.W. Fourth St. next to the Beaverton City Library.
The event is called 'Drive In, Sleep Out.' The tagline is clever: 'Putting the Brakes on Homelessness.' Registration on their website is encouraged to attract attendees in two ways. First, attendees can pay $25 to spend the entire night in their car (called 'sleep out driver registration'). If registrants don't want to sleep in their cars but want to participate, they can donate $25 and register for the 'back seat driver registration'. To register online, please visit https://www.familypromiseofbeaverton.org/events/2017/5/10/drive-in-sleep-out.
Jolene Guptill and Lois O'Halloran, chair and vice chair of Family Promise of Beaverton, will be in attendance, as well as Barb Upson, another volunteer who helped get the organization up and running. This non-profit organization began when the national branch of Family Promise spoke with these women and other volunteers and provided them with teaching tools of how to get started. With Drive In, Sleep Out, Guptill, O'Halloran and Upson want to spread awareness of how homelessness exists in Beaverton as well as provide solutions to help school-district-aged students and their families get back on track.
According to their website, "the Beaverton School district informed [them in] November [of] 2016, [that] there were 49 'unsheltered' students in the first two and half months of the school year. Unsheltered means students had no place to stay; they are not only without a home, but no temporary hotel, no crashing on a relative’s floor, no friends couch, or even a car [existed]. The growing number of unsheltered students is a heartbreaking crisis that needs immediate action."
Guptill and O'Halloran are passionate about Family Promise of Beaverton's cause and are excited to meet attendees this Saturday evening.
"There are so many people experiencing homelessness and our goal is to get them into housing and to transform their lives," O'Halloran says. "There are people who are able to transform their lives with very little help."
Focusing on the positive aspects of turning peoples' lives around, rather than the negative connotations homelessness sometimes has is what Drive In, Sleep Out is about: To learn what it's like to live one night in your car.
Guptill is excited to raise awareness about suburban homelessness.
"There are such a large number of students affected in Beaverton," she says. "Family Promise of Beaverton is a small piece to a community response. We need to keep furthering conversations about what we as a community want to do to change this.
"It's rough to sleep or live in your car. We might learn more compassion for the members of our community who are homeless. [Hopefully] people can look upon [others] with more compassion."
She's really impressed with the community for allowing Family Promise of Beaverton to do this event. The plans have been in the works for only two months and over $20,000 has been raised. Sponsors of the event are community members who believe in this cause.
"The outpouring of donations has been really heartwarming," Guptill says.
Beaverton City Councilor Lacy Beaty will be in attendance to address attendees with a speech. Her colleague Councilor Mark Fagin is participating (sleeping in his car). There have been great sponsors who have donated food so dinner will be served to all attendees and any park goers who may be homeless. Participants will also receive a T-shirt. The family-friendly Zootopia movie will be shown, whether it's raining or not. For any additional information, please e-mail email@example.com.
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