GREEN BAY, Wis. Two Green Bay high schools are raising awareness about youth homelessness, a "silent issue" affecting their peers. Rivals Green Bay East and Green Bay West face off Saturday night in back-to-back basketball games to work toward ending homelessness in the community.
Teachers say youth homelessness is a growing problem in Green Bay. The "Silent Night" event brings awareness and raises money to provide homeless students with school supplies and meals.
"East and West has the two highest number of homeless students, you know the inner city schools that we are, so it's a great event and it brings the entire community together to raise funds to help those kids out, you know give them that hand up," said Matt VandenHouten, a teacher at Green Bay East.
During the "Silent Night" games the audience participates by remaining completely silent until the 10th point is scored by either teams, signifying awareness for the homeless.
"Homelessness is such a silent issue in our community people don't talk about it very much," said Joel Kiernan, a junior at Green Bay East.
Ashley Flowers, a teacher at Green Bay East says the event helps to get students from both schools involved with their community.
"A lot of times we have peers sitting among us, we have no idea of the difficulties that they're going through so I think having this event and having them involved in it number one builds compassion and then number two is providing them with ways to give back to their community and just establishing that character," Flowers said.
"Looking at the bigger picture instead of just your narrow teenage years and start to look at the bigger picture in our community like homelessness, college readiness and hunger, all these things that tonight represents, it really gets you thinking on a larger scale ahead to your college years and into your adult life," said Kiernan.