Villa girls raise awareness of poverty in Erie


Rue Daniels

Villa Maria Academy held their annual “Box Village” to raise awareness of homelessness in Erie, Pa., through Dwellings and Advocacy for Women in Need, or DAWN.

On Feb. 26 at 4 p.m., Villa students arrived on campus with various items, including and limited to a box, duct tape, flashlights, tarps, waterproof clothing, sleeping bags, and a rosary for hourly prayer. Once items and bags were checked, students could begin to set up. All food consumed at the event was prepared or brought through exclusively donations.

Service projects, collections, and prayer opportunities were all made available to those participating in the event. Students were immersed in the Lenten season of sacrifice and able to practice solidarity amongst fellow Villa sisters.

“We were able to raise a lot of money and awareness for those experiencing poverty within our own community”, noted a Villa student when asked how Box Village assists those that may not have the opportunity to pack up their box and head home after a cold night.

DAWN has been supporting women and children become self-sufficient by providing advocacy and resources essential to individual success. They have helped multiple families local to Erie achieve their full potential. DAWN is rooted in the belief that “all people have the right to live in a setting that safeguards human dignity”.

DAWN was established in 1995 by the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of St. Joseph, and the Benedictine Sisters to address the critical concern of transitional housing for women and children that might be suffering from domestic abuse or unemployment for example. Since 1995, DAWN has provided services and housing for over 1000 families.

If you or someone you know is in need of any of the services offered by DAWN, find refuge at 131 West 18th Street or call (814) 453-5921.