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Kelloggsville Cardboard Houses to Raise Awareness of Homelessness

Kelloggsville students’ art project hit home in a real way.Kelloggsville students Kassie Nguyen and Erica Lyons stand by the cardboard house they created for the “House is a Home” service learning project

The cardboard houses they built mean something much larger than paint and cool designs. They mean increased awareness of local homelessness and raising money for families affected in the district.

The “House is a Home” service learning project, led by art teacher Donna Casmere, consists of 100 small and dozens of medium and large houses. Vibrant, whimsical, and ornate, the creative shanties carry messages of strength and hope. Proceeds from their sale will go to homeless Kelloggsville students. According to 2013 state statistics, 49 of the 1,854 homeless students attending Kent County schools are enrolled in Kelloggsville schools.

The projects are on display through May 20 in the Padnos Gallery at Grand Valley State University, 1 N. Campus Drive, in Allendalle. Visit houseisahome.weebly.com.

Future plans are to display them in front of the high school and local businesses and possibly sell them. To purchase one, contact: dcasmere@kvilleps.org or 532-1570.

“It feels like I’m actually reaching out to someone,” said sophomore Jessica Barth, who designed a house featuring a wolf and Chinese letters symbolizing hope, courage, strength and leadership.\\

The Kelloggsville “House is a Home” service learning project consists of pieces ranging in size from 1- to 6-foot tallAn educational tool

Casmere, who leads a service-learning project each year, said students chose the theme with the hope that large-scale pieces could impact the community.

“I feel like I am a part of society and an individual can help spread awareness,” said sophomore Linh Le, who created a house with a landscape uniting ocean, sun, sky and mountains,

Casmere said there is no goal set for money to raise in selling the artwork. “We really didn’t expect to raise anything but awareness,” she said.

Student teacher Stephanie Voelck worked with students on the houses as well as smaller pieces for the project including textile bags, dolls and pillows. An educational component included learning facts about homelessness, hearing from a speaker who was homeless, and writing about the issue.The “House is a Home” project is on display at Grand Valley State University

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House Is A Home

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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