For the past six months, Preston Hollow teen Jamie Perkins has been working on a project to shine a light on those who are too often forgotten.
The Yavneh Academy of Dallas student has used social media to raise more than $7,400 for a local nonprofit through her project ‘Humans of Vogel Alcove.’
Perkins’ family has been involved with Vogel Alcove since before she was born – her father joined the board of directors 19 years ago and her mom started volunteering there – and have watched it change from a five-classroom building into a new and greatly improved facility.
The new location includes a gym, sensory garden, playground, and Gap Camp for school-aged children to attend during school breaks.
“Vogel Alcove has been an important part of my life since I was a baby,” Perkins said. “From my first birthday, half of my birthday presents were donated to Vogel Alcove. I got to pick which ones went to Vogel, so I was always very aware of doing good for others.”
Perkins began volunteering when she was 7.
Every day, around 100 children walk through Vogel Alcove’s wooden doors and arrive in its safe haven.
Perkins personally volunteer twice a week and every day during school vacation.
“The best feeling in the world is when a tiny hand grabs onto my finger or a baby plops into my lap,” she said. “I love knowing that I can bring joy to someone who may or may not be finding it outside of Vogel’s doors.”
Although Perkins found volunteering incredibly rewarding, she knew that was something more she could do.
That’s how Humans of Vogel Alcove began.
“I wanted to make a difference in a way that these families are viewed,” she said. “So when a teacher of mine suggested I create Humans of Vogel Alvoge, I jumped into action.”
Humans of Vogel Alcove, she said is similar to Humans of New York, a popular social media page that provides insight into various New Yorkers.
“The parents I have been fortunate enough to speak with have taught me priceless life lessons,” Perkins said. “One of the most important things I have learned in the process of managing Humans of Vogel Alcove is that they are not so different from parents with homes.
“Many of these parents are just down on their luck or were one payment short of keeping their house.”
A comment from one parent, she said particularly drove that message home: The most common misconception about people in my situation is that we don’t change. My situation has opened my eyes for the better. What I want is a better future for my children. I’m not only thinking about myself, I’m thinking about their future.
“Hearing these stories has really opened my eyes,” Perkins said. “I think I’ve always been more aware and open to homeless people than many of my peers, but hearing their first-hand accounts of how they became homeless and what their life is like allowed me to see it in a new light.
“I’ve learned even more so that these parents do not deserve to be viewed or treated as different of less-than. Most of them were in a bad situation or relationship. made a mistake, or simply are down on their luck.
To donate to Humans of Vogel Alcove, click here.