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University of Southern California Collaboration

Updated: Aug 24, 2020


Through a Project Blindfold collaboration with the University of Southern California’s “Understanding Homelessness Through Service” program at the Joint Education Project, nine college students were recruited, placed and trained to intern for three weeks in June 2019 at The Union Rescue Mission homeless shelter.


Six of these students were international students from China, who were part of a cultural exchange program. The students served meals, helped with childcare, and participated in Stories from Skid Row. USC students will then be traveling to China to study homelessness abroad. This initiative has an international impact.



“Looking at a particular social issue and seeing how it exists in different social contexts would be a really interesting way to frame the students experiences,” said Susan Harris the Associate Director of Research and Academic Affairs at USC Join Education Project. “Something where they really could compare and contrast these issues. Homelessness in Hong Kong vs. homelessness in in the USA.” Susan Harris began working for JEP in 1994 when she was a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology.  At that time, Susan worked to craft reflective exercises and other assignments for sociology service-learning students.

"I was struck by the very different experiences students had in Hong Kong and Los Angeles.  Homelessness is so pervasive in Los Angeles, while in Hong Kong, the issue is more about substandard housing.  It’s a significant problem in each city but it (literally) looks very different in each context." - Susan Harris

Jacqueline J. Whitley is the Director of Non-Profit Partnerships and is responsible for fostering partnerships with the non-school sites (particularly non-profits and governmental agencies) which offer special placements for USC students. She manages the undergraduate program assistants that assist in coordinating these special placements (such as Trojan Health Volunteers and Youth & Family Agencies. She also edits and designs the bi-annual JEP newsletter, and helps administer the Grace Ford Salvatori Scholarship. Jac started as a graduate student while working on her Master of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs, and has been with JEP since the spring semester of 2005.

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