The Empathy Project - High school students coming together, doing good work, making us proud.

The Harvard Square Business Association (HSBA) is pleased to announce that its member, Spare Change News/Homeless Empowerment Project, is partnering with Yusef Ferhani and Christy Felix seniors from the Community Charter School of Cambridge (CCSC), also a member of the HSBA, in organizing an event called "The Empathy Project". Both Yusef and Christy are interns at Spare Change News, a street newspaper founded in 1992 and published in Harvard Square.

At this time, there are approximately 100 active Spare Change newspaper vendors in the greater Boston area working with the Homeless Empowerment Project. Each vendor pays 35 cents for a copy of the paper, and then sells it on the street for $1.00 resulting in the vendor profiting 65 cents for each newspaper sold.

The Empathy Project will take place on May 7th, as it is National Day of Service. To highlight this day of service, high school students have been invited to participate in a day-long event in which they will sell Spare Change newspapers in their neighborhoods. All proceeds will go towards production costs of Spare Change News. Students from dozens of communities, including Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, have already signed on...and those who haven't can sign up here!

The main focus of The Empathy Project is to help students gain an empathetic understanding of the challenges faced by the vendors in their efforts to earn an income, while spreading awareness of the mission of Spare Change News in communities across Massachusetts.

CCSC requires every senior to complete a 100 hour internship during the spring semester. Students gain real-world experience and must work with mentors to propose and complete a project that will benefit their host organization or business.

Katherine Bennett, Executive Director of Spare Change News stated, "We are so grateful to Yusef and Christy for conceiving of and implementing this project. We know that having students walk in the shoes of our vendors will lead to greater understanding of the plight of the homeless and nearly homeless in our communities. We hope The Empathy Project will be an annual event."

"I am beyond proud of the work these two seniors are doing at the internship site this spring, "stated Caleb Hurst-Hiller, Head of School at CCSC. "Their experience reinforces the purpose of our program and the additional requirements we place on our seniors."

Yusef and Christy will formally present on their experience and this project alongside their senior classmates at CCSC's annual Senior Internship Exhibition on June 1st at Google Cambridge. Community members are welcome and can register for the event.