For many residents in Lake county, IL, a good night's sleep simply means having a roof over their head. There are hundreds of homeless people living in Lake County. This may be surprising because most of us know Lake county as the home of Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Highland Park, Glencoe, Deerfield making the county the 31st richest county in the country by per-capita income, according to the 2000 United States Census. Being "sociologically mindful" as Schwalbe says, might make us think how the 31st richest county in the wealthiest country in the world can have homeless people living in it. Furthermore, Schwalbe might call us to think about how we can react to this. What could be done to help those who have no place to sleep at night? What small acts can you do that might make a difference? Look at the video posted here. Before this, were you aware of the homeless in Lake county? One of my service experiences is PADS which serves the homeless. It starts in October and usually goes until April. They are sometimes reluctant to have minors do the service alone, but maybe if you are 18 and you are mature and responsible over the phone, you can convince them to let you do it, or maybe you can convince a parent to do it with you.
Last fall I did PADS and I worked the clothes closet where all of the guests can get a new outfit or long underwear or socks, whatever. I met this guy who said he needed khaki pants. I thought to myself that's kind of picky for a homeless guy. I found a pair of brownish pants and he said "They're not right - it has to be khaki." He went on to tell me that he works at Kohl's and they demand khaki for the uniform. I was so surprised that he had a regular job but was homeless. I didn't ask about why he might be in this situation (substance abuse, divorce, an accident, it could be anything) but I did think with a sociological imagination that I had been wrong in my thoughts about homeless people and I was really glad that I was doing something to help him. And I slept better knowing that. Here is the link to Lake County PADS.