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Last modified: Wednesday, March 12, 2003

IUB students to walk for the homeless

Indiana University Bloomington students will have the opportunity to help raise money for the homeless and increase public awareness of homelessness by participating in Homeward Bound, a walk on March 30 benefiting the homeless as well as affordable housing agencies in south central Indiana.

The 5-kilometer walk in Bloomington, which is being coordinated by IUB's Volunteer Students Bureau, will begin at 2 p.m. at Third Street Park, located just south of East Third Street between Lincoln and Washington streets. Registration will begin at noon.

Homeward Bound, a collaboration of local homeless service providers and affordable housing agencies, works with the Indiana Coalition on Housing and Homeless Issues to raise awareness of homelessness throughout the state. Monroe County averages about 4,000 homeless people each year, and an estimated 300,000 Hoosiers have been at risk of homelessness at some time in their lives, according to the United Way of Monroe County.

The Bloomington-based 5K event is one of six walks that will occur in Indiana during the spring. The walk was brought to the Volunteer Students Bureau's attention by Darrell Ann Stone, associate director of student activities for leadership and service at IUB.

"I wanted VSB to be involved in this because they are thestudent organization that remains a volunteer opportunity resource for the entire campus," said Stone. "It seemed to me that we had a responsibility to help educate students about homelessness and to provide them with an opportunity to give back to the city they are being hosted within."

The Volunteer Students Bureau, a student-run organization that acts as a liaison between campus and community, is actively seeking students to participate in the walk. Currently, the bureau has enlisted over 70 volunteers from various student groups, campus organizations and residence halls, said Erin Erwin, graduate assistant in the Volunteer Students Bureau.

"We've had great interest so far," Erwin said. "We chose to do this walk because the VSB works to serve the interests of all students, and this is something that students can easily get involved with and feel equally passionate about."

Teams and individual volunteers can register online at http://www.homelesswalks.org. Teams are encouraged to raise $1,000, but there is no minimum amount to participate in the walk. There is also no limit to the number of team members. Walkers who register online can set up a Web site through which friends and family members can donate money. Walkers can also designate the charity their money will go to.

For more information concerning the walk, contact the Volunteer Students Bureau at 812-855-8290 or vsb@indiana.edu.