Brad Barnett: Finding Room in Your Heart
For the Homeless
May 1, 2001--
When passing by the homeless
on the street, most people avert their eyes. But Brad Barnett has
chosen to see, to listen and to try to help.
Barnett, 21, a third-year student
at the University of Virginia, spent many hours as a volunteer at
On Our Own Drop-In Center, a shelter for homeless men and women
in Charlottesville, during his first year of college. Impressed
by the scope of needs of the centers clients, he founded CavsCare,
a group of U.Va. students who also wanted to help at the shelter.
"Whenever we see social ills,
we put them into a separate category to deal with them, we erect
barriers between them and us," Barnett said. "This eases
our guilt and pain. My goal was to break down those barriers."
To better understand the lives of
Charlottesvilles homeless, Barnett, from Clifton, Va., interviewed
several men and women and gathered essays and art work into a collection
titled, "shelter from the storm: a candid view of life and
homelessness in Charlottesville."
Barnetts work with the homeless
was a major factor in his recent selection as a Truman Scholar,
according to the Harry S. Truman Foundation. The Truman Foundation
each year grants 70 scholarships of $30,000 to promising college
juniors nationwide to help them pay for their last year of college.
Because Barnett is graduating a year
early, he will be allowed to apply the scholarship funds to graduate
school. Barnett is the 20th U.Va. student to win a Truman
As an Echols scholar, Barnett examined
questions about homelessness and the human condition through an
interdisciplinary program that included classes in anthropology,
philosophy, religion and English. He also completed the prerequisites
for medical school.
Barnett, who will graduate this May
-- a year early thanks to summer-school classes and AP credits --
is planning to pursue a career in medicine and would like to continue
his work with homeless people in some way -- or treat children battling
Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (804)