Equity Club Hosts Waypoint Presentation
The Derryfield Equity Club hosted Erin Kelly, Waypoint’s Director of Homeless Youth and Young Adult Services, at a lunchtime meeting on March 10 in the Lyceum. The Equity Club strives to provide DS students with a safe and supportive place to explore and discuss various social issues. The goal of the club is to educate the members, and their peers, on inequities in the community, in order to make Derryfield–and the world–a more tolerant and inclusive place. Waypoint is a Manchester-based, private, nonprofit agency whose mission is to empower people of all ages through an array of human services and advocacy. Waypoint seeks to lessen the burden of homelessness on youth by establishing drop-in centers and street outreach programs.
Erin Kelly gave an educational presentation to the attendees, starting with the fact that New Hampshire estimates almost 15,000 youth will experience homelessness this year. She explained that “homelessness” takes many forms–those who are unhoused may be escaping abusive or neglectful homes or have been rejected from their own homes for their sexual identity or orientation. They may be couch surfing, living in a vehicle, out in the woods, or in an abandoned building. Kelly explained, “If we can intervene, we can make a difference.”
During the Q&A, audience members asked Kelly how she got involved in working with the homeless, how Covid affected the homeless situation in New Hampshire, and what Derryfield students could do to help those in need. Kelly replied that Waypoint “needs advocates who understand the issue (of homelessness),” and asked the students to carry forth what they had learned out into the community.
One of the major goals of Waypoint is to raise awareness about the youth homelessness situation in New Hampshire. Each year, Waypoint holds a “SleepOut,” in which community supporters are invited to spend a night out in the cold in solidarity with youth enduring homelessness in New Hampshire. Three members of the Equity Club, Madison Viger, Nicea Armstrong, and Maya Neumann, have signed on to participate in SleepOut 2022 as part of Maya's nonprofit organization Wings of Kindness. You can support them here:
Located in Manchester, NH, The Derryfield School is a private day school for grades 6-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.