Emerson students partner with Soldier On to combat veteran homelessness

Photo courtesy of Averie Morren, WEBN Reporter


Photo courtesy of Averie Morren, WEBN Reporter

By Averie Morren

Emerson students teamed up with Soldier On, a private non-profit organization committed to ending veteran homelessness, to invite members of the Boston community to build “bricks” of artwork, which act as donations and the foundation of homes. 

On March 29th, students from Dr Maria Scott’s media relations class hosted the “Helping Unhoused Veterans One Brick at a Time ” event in two locations of the Boston Common Park; near the Earl of Sandwich and next to the Park Street MBTA station. 

At this event, participants were invited to “build a house” by selecting small, pre-painted canvases, or ‘bricks’,  based on their donation amount. For a $5 donation, a red brick was given, $10 for blue, $20 for yellow, and $50 for an orange brick. After the donation is made, they stick their bricks onto the white cardboard house. With the bricks, participants can write heartful, personal messages to veterans.

Different teams in the class pitched various ideas of problems and ways to bring awareness to the situation. These specific students have been working on this project since February. Prior to this event, students marketed this event on their personal social media, allowing others to “reserve” bricks, through online donations

“They had more than $500 in donations before we even started,” Scott emphasized. 

Soldier On, their partner in this event, has been aiding unhoused veterans since 1994, and has worked with Emerson students before. Originally, they were a transitional program, however, they’ve changed their focus to “permanent housing because that’s the ultimate solution to ending homelessness,” says Casey DiCicco, Director of Communication for Soldier On. 

When asked about the benefits of collaborating with other organizations like Emerson College, CEO Bruce Buckley states, “It’s how we grow… the energy that the kids bring is…. immeasurable, really, in the passion and it’s, it kind of inspires us all to keep going.” 

Despite the high winds and light rain, Emerson students advocated and welcomed Boston residents who passed their tables. Each table offered additional information, inspiring quotes and success stories, as well as QR codes to online donations. 

“As a student who lives in a city who sees a lot of unhoused people, I’ve volunteered at shelter homes around here, and try to do as much as I can. You know things aren’t going to happen until major groups of people start working on it,” exclaims Elle Baray-Forgét, an Emerson student who worked on this project. 

Proceeds from all donations contribute to Soldier On’s objective of aiding unhoused veterans. Following the event, the customized bricks are relocated to the latest community established in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.