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Youth group explores homelessness in the Finger Lakes

Last September, members of the Seneca Falls United Methodist Church youth group had a sleepover — on the church lawn.

The group, made up of sixth- through 12th-graders, collected large cardboard boxes from BonaDent and the Seneca Falls school district, set them up outside and crawled in with sleeping bags to simulate a night of homelessness.

It was an activity that opened their eyes. And for eight months since that night, these youngsters have been focused on that issue and what they can do to combat it in their little corner of the world.

The youth group’s culminating activity, months in the planning, is a fundraising walk planned for June 2 along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail (see details below). Proceeds will benefit Honor House, a transitional home on Fall Street for a female veteran in Seneca Falls that opened last year. The home is the result of a partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Seneca Falls, Generations Bank, the Seneca County Veterans Service Agency and Women March Seneca Falls.

Honor House was dedicated last May and its occupant, a female veteran, leases the house at a below market rate for up to two years, with a portion set aside in escrow to be used either to purchase a home or securing another leased one.

Youth Group Director Liz Rhinehart said she and Pastor Val White settled on the idea of homelessness as an issue to focus on, but the youth group members really adopted it as a project of their own.

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