UNIVERSITY STUDENTS LAUNCH INITIATIVE TO TACKLE HOMELESSNESS IN PHOENIX:

On August 27th bak·pak, a student led 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, held its first event at Central Arizona Shelter Services providing nearly 500 homeless individuals with clean socks, music, cold water bottles, foot care, resource cards and conversation. On September 24th bak·pak will host its second event at Central Arizona Shelter Services with a goal of providing similar services to 1000 homeless individuals

“It is our philosophy that everyone deserves a chance, and it is our mission to provide that chance; it is our goal to reintegrate those experiencing homelessness while encouraging students to connect with the social issue of homelessness” said Vivienne Gellert, Founder and President of bak·pak. Through a combination of community outreach from university volunteers and social intervention, bak·pak hopes to serve as a catalyst to connect and disseminate the numerous resources downtown Phoenix has to offer. 

In collaboration with Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) and monOrchid, bak·pak has launched a yearlong initiative called the HEAL Initiative (Honor. Empower. Advocate. Lead.). Each month the students plan to host similar events at CASS. In upcoming months, bak·pak will be providing clothing, haircuts, and hygiene kits. 

In addition to providing knowledge on potential resources, bak·pak also wishes to utilize these monthly gatherings to inform “bak·pakers” of upcoming service expansions within the non-profit, including its 10-week program set to begin in 2017. The 10-week program will consist of motivational speakers, group meetings, behavioral health intervention, physical health consultations, computer workshops, and resume building. bak•pak’s ultimate goal: the employment of an individual. 

bak·pak will further its efforts to support the homeless by engaging local organizations, businesses, and residents. Currently bak·pak is in the process of starting high school and college chapters. Through community involvement, bak·pak hopes to expand its pool of supporters and to ultimately connect the community with its cause. 

It is bak·pak’s goal to provide direction, hope, and support to the homeless living in downtown Phoenix. Through a combination of community outreach and social intervention, it is bak·pak’s firm belief that anyone can make a “come·bak.”. 

Want to help but don’t know how to help? Become a volunteer, become a financial donor or share your idea as to how you can help bak·pak raise supplies. For more information, please visit www.givealifebakpak.org.