Reducing stigma around homelessness |

Reducing stigma around homelessness

Rachel Mills
Updated: January 14, 2021 10:26 PM
Created: January 14, 2021 06:09 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Winona State University Rochester nursing students are teaming up with a local non-profit this semester to make an even bigger difference for those who need it most.

The Landing MN is a local organization that works with individuals experiencing homelessness. This year, they are doing something new by training students to care for them.

"It's nice for me to get them in and try to raise them up right - if you will - in this environment. And to get them to know that folks that are less fortunate than they are are still human," Dan Fifield, The Landing MN co-founder, said. 

Having students in healthcare form connections with those experiencing homelessness is an important stepping stone to quality future care, Fifield said.

That's why educators at WSU Rochester are starting a program that allows students to raise awareness and funds for The Landing MN, including a cardboard box sleep-out night.

"I always thought it was really interesting to give someone the experience of sleeping outside in a less-than-optimal environment, and it gives them a little more appreciation for what it might be like to be homeless," Fifield said.

Nursing students will be hold a silent auction in April and this week they will begin putting together short video ads for the fundraiser.

"I'm asking my students to try and create little videos that will help break the stigma to help someone reframe their thinking in regards to that man that's standing on the corner," Dr. Amber Fiedler, WSU assistant professor, said. 

This experience is something that organizers hope will transform the students so they walk away with a new perspective on the issue.

"This can happen to you. This can happen to anybody in your family, and people don't want to believe that," He said. "It's a good process for anyone to go through that might be interested in helping. It gives you a better understanding of where these folks are coming from. How they may have gotten here."

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