By IVY VELAZQUEZ
Assistant Professor of criminology and criminal justice Carly Hilinski-Rosick and her victimology class will be holding a suitcase drive in Vaughn Center Lobby on Thursday, April 13. Inspired by an article in the Tampa Bay Times about a “bedding” drive conducted for Joshua House, Hilinski-Rosick felt that holding this suitcase drive would be a good choice as a service project for her victimology class. All proceeds from the drive will be donated to Joshua House.
Students can donate from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.in Vaughn Lobby on Thursday. In the case that they don’t have a suitcase to donate, the drive will also be accepting monetary donations, as well as other things that are on the Joshua House “wish list.” These items include $10 gift cards to places such as McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A, as well as clothing and personal hygiene products, including feminine hygiene products.
Joshua House is a “safe haven” for children who have been abused and neglected and removed from their homes, located in Lutz. With five homes on 11 acres of land, Joshua House provides the children with care as the children wait for a new home to be found for them.
Preparation for the drive has been in the works since the beginning of the semester. Part of the reason Hilinski-Rosick chose to donate in April is due to the fact that it is Child Abuse Prevention month. In the victimology class, students study different types of victimization, from children who have been abused to rape victims. Hilinski-Rosick had her students conduct the drive in order to help them build a more personal connection to what they are studying, as well as to take what they learn and apply it outside of the classroom. The class will be delivering the donations themselves.
“This service project gives perspective to what’s going on in our community and gives us a chance to make a difference,” said Sabrina Wiecher, a senior criminology major and student in the class.
The purpose of the suitcase drive is to provide the residents of Joshua House with something to carry their belongings in as they are forced to move from house to house through the foster system. Ranging in ages from six to 17, the children have no say in when or where they move. Often, they are made to move an average of six times in three years.
According to Hilinski-Rosick, children who move from foster home to foster home tend to have just a trash bag or pillowcase to carry their belongings in. The drive is meant to collect new and used suitcases (in good working order) so that the children may have a better means to pack and move their belongings.
If students are unable to make it to the tabling, Hilinski-Rosick will also be accepting donations in her office in Plant Hall, room 349. All items will be delivered to Joshua House through Monday, April 17.
“Any small donation would really make these kids happy, as well as make a difference in their lives,” Wiecher said. “It will make them feel as though someone really cares about them, because so many tend to give up on them. That should be enough to make anyone want to donate.”
Ivy Velazquez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.