Date of Award

5-11-2002

Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

First Advisor

Tracy Faulconer

Abstract

The effects of the community service aspect of a yearlong civic education course on high school students' attitudes toward and beliefs about the homeless were studied. This qualitative case study focused on high school juniors and seniors and was conducted as students did homeless community service at different venues. Utilizing observation, document collection and interviews, data was collected, analyzed and interpreted. In general, community service affected these high school students in a positive and empathetic manner. Before they undertook homeless community service, participants generally held either no opinion or a negative opinion of homeless people. Homeless community service gave students greater exposure to the problems of and related to homelessness and helped students realize that homelessness and poverty are interrelated, large-scale problems. The community service encounters that affected students' attitudes most were those where students had direct contact with the homeless and could hear the personal stories of these people that give insight to their humanity.

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