Teenage homelessness is usually
the last thing on a high school student’s mind, but Martin High School senior Landon Hackley is one of the exceptions. During an Arlington Mayor’s Youth Commission meeting last year, Landon learned that more than 337,000 kids are homeless in the state of Texas.
“I was shocked,” he said. “Not only did it make me realize how much I have to be grateful for, but it inspired me to take action to help those who aren’t as lucky as me.”
Hackley met with friends Tom Overman, also a senior at Martin; and Madeleine Stokes, a junior at Arlington High School; and began brainstorming how they could make a difference in the lives of homeless teenagers.
The fruits of their labor resulted in the creation of CRASH (Communities Raising Awareness of Student Homelessness), and the program was officially launched last July.
“We are a teens-helping-teens organization that helps as many homeless students as possible graduate from high school by educating them about the resources that are available to help them – resources such as shelter locations, supplies and guidance counselors,”
Equally as important is the group’s commitment to raise funds to financially support local shelters for teens. Currently, the group earns money through t-shirt sales. Last September, the group collected enough funds to present their first official check in the amount of $1,000 to ACH Child and Family Services.
“ACH is the only emergency teen shelter in the DFW area that is available for teens to walk in any time of the day or night to get help. The money we donated will help to provide food, clothes and improved living conditions for teens in the shelter.”
Student ambassador opportunities
are available through the CRASH program. These ambassadors represent their school and help organize CRASH-sponsored events in the community. Recently, the students partnered with the Arlington Life Shelter (ALS) and provided student volunteers to work raffle ticket sales at the ALS Home for the Holidays fundraiser. CRASH earned a percentage of the sales that will help fund future donations toward their cause.
Anyone interested in supporting CRASH and its efforts can make an online donation and/or place a shirt order on the group’s website: crashusa.org.