In May 2013, select students, staff, and faculty of The Art Institute of Tampa met with Florida State Representative Kathleen Peters on campus. Rep. Peters led a discussion on the state of homelessness in the country, state, and our community. It became apparent there is an obvious disconnect between the average citizen’s vision of the homeless and the real causes and effects of homelessness.
From this meeting the students, aided by faculty and staff, challenged themselves to develop a student led campaign aimed at addressing this disconnect through the establishment of an ongoing homelessness awareness program which will employ the skills and creativity they are developing at The Art Institute of Tampa.
The students were welcomed into the homelessness services community, meeting with a broad range of government, business, and community leaders working on addressing the impact of homelessness on the citizens of Pinellas County, Florida. They toured a wide range of service organizations from Safe Harbor to HEP and talked to a cross section of the county’s homeless population and the people who work diligently to help them in the restoration of their lives. Many organizations in Pinellas County and beyond have continued to reach out to the students which will allow for ongoing community input in developing future strategies and campaigns in support of the organization’s vision and objectives.
This organization was developed by the Design Honors students in the Design program at The Art Institute of Tampa and is guided by select staff and faculty. It will continue as part of the Graphic and Web Design curriculum as the focus of the Design Honors course concentrations and will be supported by select students from the Institute’s other professional programs, most notably the Media program and be guided by key staff and faculty.
The central purpose and mission of aTrueFace is defined as:
“aTrueFace is an organization of creative students attending the Art Institute of Tampa which is dedicated to engaging and educating the public on the evolving state of homelessness in our community.”
The goal of aTrueFace is to educate the public about the reality of homelessness and build support for the safety net of community-driven organizations, which work to mitigate the impact of homelessness on the lives of its citizens.
- Respect for the homeless
- Respect for social service providers
- Respect for the individual in all communications
- Advocacy for human dignity
- Compassion for human suffering and ignorance
- Accuracy in all information presented to the public
- Accountability to the community
- Creativity through thought-provoking engagement with the community
The vision of aTrueFace is to establish and perpetuate an impactful group of creative students dedicated to changing the misconceptions of homelessness through education of and involvement in the evolving state of homelessness in our society.
“Through our creative efforts, we intend to build a community that respects each individual and demonstrates an inclusive environment that supports those in need of a place to call home.”
The strategic objectives of aTrueFace:
- To work with the homelessness community to identify evolving issues and needs which require public recognition and support
- To develop creative strategies aimed at engaging and educating the public on those issues
- To execute appropriate creative strategies that promotes community engagement and incorporate learning opportunities on the evolving state of homelessness.
- Promote opportunities for community involvement
- To achieve an ongoing, thought-provoking relationship with the entire community
- To change society’s misconceptions of the homeless population