Elm City Echo

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our mission:

To provide a platform for individuals experiencing homelessness to support themselves and share their stories.

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The Elm City Echo recognizes the vital importance of expressive and economic opportunities for marginalized members in any community. Our mission joins together student volunteers with individuals experiencing extreme poverty and homelessness to publish and sell a street periodical. Since 2011, the Elm City Echo has recorded and published the writing, poetry, and artwork of those living in hardship--amplifying the voices of those often unheard. Each story begins with volunteers visiting one of our partner homeless shelters (Columbus House or Fellowship Place). There, our student volunteers work to support participating authors and artists, who write and produce all of the periodical's content. Using a micro-enterprise model, the Elm City Echo is then sold by economically disadvantaged vendors who can develop and execute their own business model.

75% of every sale goes directly to the enterprising vendor, while the remaining 25% goes toward the periodical's production, including support for the contributing authors and artists. Through its efforts, the Elm City Echo fosters a community of creativity, enables an entrepreneurial spirit, and endeavors to bridge socio-economic gaps through mutual understanding and meaningful conversation. The Echo firmly believes in finding the commonalities in the human experience and sharing them with others.

How to get involved:

Write, edit, listen, and give.

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Elm City Echo volunteers are crucial to the project's success. Each of our volunteers commits one hour every week to visiting either Columbus House or Fellowship Place, where they will support and build relationships with individuals who are interested in contributing writing or artwork to the Echo. Each creative partnership is different, so student volunteers fulfill various roles. Sometimes, they serve as editors or transcribers, while at other times they may be needed as a sounding board for ideas or simply as a friend and listener. Between visits to shelters, student volunteers are also expected to spend some time preparing for their meetings with the Echo's writers and artists. If you're interested in volunteering with the Echo, just contact the Project Heads!

Contact Project Heads: Sophie Neely (sophie.neely@yale.edu) and Eliana Swerdlow (eliana.swerdlow@yale.edu)


Their words:

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Every time I write something, it’s usually about the bad times. This time, I’m finally going to write about the good.
— Bernadette