Biking for HPHS Homeless

Last winter, I learned about the homeless student population at HPHS. A student is techincally considered homeless when he or she does not have somewhere to stay for more than 3 nights in a row.

Some homeless HPHS students stay with their parents in shelters and commute to school in HP, but others were kicked out or ran away from home. Some parents  left the country (or were deported) and were forced to leave their kids behind. These kids journey from neighbor to neighbor or friend's house to friend's house, or find themselves outside over night; basically they seek shelter wherever they can find it.

It was astounding to learn that there were at least 18 kids in this position at HPHS last year.

There is a homeless student liaison at every public school. Last year, at the suggestion of the HPHS liason, a number of community members collected money to purchase gift cards for local businesses for these students, to be distributed as needed, so the students could buy food and other items. 

This summer, I will be riding my bike 3600 miles in under 6 weeks (approximately 100-115 miles per day, with 5 rest days). I will ride across America, leaving from Charleston, SC and riding to Santa Monica, CA (ocean to ocean). I will be doing this with a group of 10 high schoolers and 2 college students. We will carry all of our own equipment, including sleeping bags and tents. We will not have a van or any other kind of motorized support. I am hoping this trip will teach me a lot about what it means to have to literally carry my own gear, and find a safe place to sleep each night. I expect to learn a lot about self-reliance.

Although this trip is not officially a fundraiser, I hope that my family and friends are willing to support my effort. I would like to ask sponsors for donations for any HPHS students who find themselves homeless in the future. All of the money I collect will be transfered to the HPHS homeless student liason to be distributed at their discretion as needed.

I believe my experience this summer will give me insight into what it might feel like to have to carry my own gear and search for a safe, unknown place to stay each night. I am sure that getting on the bike each morning will be hard, but knowing I am doing it to support this project will make it very worthwhile.


Noah Canel


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Organizer and beneficiary

Noah Canel 
Highland Park, IL
jennifer canel 
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