Growing into activism

In the midst of bedlam, Noa Greenwald and Lily Siegert are taking a stand for homeless youth.

While handling the intense demands of their junior year in high school, the two teenagers are producing a major benefit – The Italian Night Dinner and Concert – for Attention Homes, Boulder County’s only emergency overnight shelter for homeless youth.

This is the third year in a row they have produced the Italian Night benefit. Held this year on November 1, the event’s purpose is to raise money for Attention Homes. Its pull is comfort food by A Spice of Life Catering and bluegrass music by Boulder’s Flatiron Junction.

Noa Greenwald and Lily Siegert

Noa Greenwald and Lily Siegert

The genesis of the girls’ alliance began at Boulder’s Platt Choice Middle School, when as sixth graders they were presented with the school’s daunting requirement: 90 hours of community service over three years.

In eighth grade they teamed up to tackle the final forty hours of the challenge, conceiving the Italian Night fundraiser to benefit the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. It was a big success.

“We wanted to do something beyond just volunteering,” Ms. Greenwald says. “Producing the benefit turned out to be both fun and really inspiring.”

Many kids would complete a 90-hour service requirement and feel relieved to be done. For Ms. Greenwald and Ms. Siegert, the milestone just sparked more momentum.

They decided to make Italian Night an annual event and next chose Attention Homes as the beneficiary, inspired by the organization’s support of their high school peers in desperate need.

“We have enlisted the support of our friends to produce the event, which has been a great way to spread more awareness about Attention Homes,” Ms. Siegert says.

Increasing awareness is one of the most important things they can do. On any given night, there are some 200 youth living unsheltered in Boulder County. Attention Homes’ Runaway & Homeless Youth Program provides street outreach, day drop-in and overnight emergency shelter services.

Later in the month on November 13, Ms. Greenwald and Ms. Siegert will join more than 100 others on the lawn of the First United Methodist Church in downtown Boulder for Attention Homes’ Sleep Out for Homeless Youth event. They can bring nothing but a sleeping bag and flashlight to get through whatever weather the night brings, and will surely gain a deeper understanding of what it’s like to be young and homeless.

The girls are hopeful the Italian Night Dinner and Concert for Attention Homes will raise at least $4,000 and priceless awareness. It will be an early and succinct affair on Saturday, November 1 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Families are encouraged to bring children. Teenagers can attend and still do something in the hours beyond. TICKETS are just $18 for adults and $15 for students. Don’t miss it.

At the Sleep Out on November 13, Ms. Greenwald and Ms. Siegert will be joined by, among many other community leaders, the principals of their respective high schools: Boulder’s Terry Gilach and Fairview’s Don Stensrud. Watch for our post on the principals next week.

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