Special thanks to Jobs for Maine’s Graduates for sharing the following article with the Maine DOE for publication.
For the second year in a row, Melissa Coppa’s Jobs for Maine’s Graduates students at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport held a “Sleep-in-a-Box” event so that students could raise funds for homelessness awareness in their communities. Twenty-four people took part, including 17 high school students and two middle school students.
“The event is a way to create awareness in our community and among the student participants about the large number of people who are homeless in our communities,” said Coppa. “Every one in three homeless in the state of Maine is under the age of 18, and on any given night there are 281 families without a place stay.
“The students get people to sponsor them to sleep out in boxes overnight. The funds raised go to local homeless shelters. We raised approximately $600. This was an eye-opener for many of the students who participated.”
JMG President and CEO Craig Larrabee even stopped by to make a donation to the cause and to praise the students for their efforts.
Coppa says many local businesses offered support for the event. “Tim Horton’s allowed us to use their restrooms and provided free hot chocolate for the students in the morning,” she said. “Kelly Printing helped us print flyers for no charge. Sears, Rent-a-Center and Dunham’s Furniture in Dexter and Newport saved boxes for us. Bud’s Shop-N-Save allowed us to utilize their lawn outside the store to set up and camp out. We are planning on doing this again next year as well. We opened the even up to the entire school body, and many kids gave up the homecoming dance to participate in such a selfless way. I am so proud of the kids, thankful for the teachers who chaperoned, thankful to all those who made donations, and thankful for all the local business who supported us. They all helped this to be a success.”