Tom Sitting on Ground Holding Work SignHi, My name is Tom Rebman, and I was an English Teacher in a Title 1 Middle School in Orlando, Florida. In July of 2014 I went homeless for 30 days so my students could understand how difficult it is to live without shelter and food. I also wanted to keep them reading and writing during the summer.

My journey began with nothing but my ID and the clothes on my back. I didn’t know what would happen, where I would eat, or sleep. I was homeless for 30 days, and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I used only legal government services (Shelters, Food Pantries, etc.) to live. I donated plasma to earn money for bus fare. I took candid video to show how homeless people are viewed and treated. I came to know many members of our homeless community, and lived as a part of their culture.

I created a Facebook page to interact with my students called “Homeless and Hungry”. Every day I posted a video and a blog describing the days’ events. I wanted to help my students analyze the problems the homeless face and come up with solutions to these problems. With the support of the community and followers online, I was able to raise $4,000. Those funds will be divided up between the Orange County Public Schools, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Coalition for the Homeless.

What’s next? I have decided to continue this journey and mission to bring awareness and advocacy for the homeless in “The City Beautiful”. I have launched a program called “Homeless and Hungry”, a 24-hour immersive workshop into the life of the homeless. Please join me for a personalized tour of Orlando from the perspective of the homeless. You will learn first-hand by experiencing the challenges and hardships that our homeless citizens endure every day.