More than 150 talkative eighth-graders packed into the gymnasium at Cabin John Middle School on Friday, Oct. 13, to prepare for the annual Walk for the Homeless, for which they had raised a record $8,200. Charlotte Garvey-Corbett, a parent volunteer for the PTSA Community Service Committee, wanted the pre-teens to understand the difficulties of poverty, and she also aimed to dispel common stereotypes about the homeless. She thrust a handful of Monopoly money into the air.
"I work at Panera Bread for $7 an hour, 40 hours a week," said Garvey-Corbett in a skit about homelessness. "I just got a paycheck. I hope it will get me through the month."
But the parent volunteer had to turn over nearly all of her money to a row of Cabin John Middle P.E. teachers, who were posing as utility companies, a landlord, a doctor and a babysitter. The $100 that remained was insufficient to cover other living experiences, making homelessness a very real possibility for the character in the monologue.
"Last night, 300 kids stayed in a shelter because they don’t have a home," Garvey-Corbett said to the students. "Do you think that’s a problem?"
"Yes!" yelled the crowd.
The funds raised by Cabin John students are going to the groups Bethesda Cares, From Streets to Skills, and the National Center for Children and Families — three organizations that help the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. Students also donated toiletries to the organizations. All grade levels participated in the walk.