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Downtown Streets Team set to spread awareness

Nonprofit placing booth in Lytton Plaza, recruiting mentors

The Downtown Streets Team, which provides street-cleaning jobs to local homeless people in exchange for food, shelter and other services, will be holding several events in Lytton Plaza next week.

The events have been planned to coincide with National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week Nov. 15-19.

The nonprofit will have an information booth in the plaza each day next week (except Thursday) between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. On Nov. 19, local band Buffalo Chips will be performing, possibly with Downtown Streets Team members as guest vocalists.

Tuesday (Nov. 16) will also be the monthly meeting of the Downtown Streets Team's mentoring program, which pairs individual team members with community volunteers on a one-to-one basis.

"The mentoring program is really unique because it allows community members to have a deeper impact. It's the best way to volunteer," Program Manager Chris Richardson said.

Many team members' lives have been greatly enriched by the program, Richardson said. Rather than simply financially supporting the program, mentors have helped their partners set and accomplish goals, stay sober, look for work or simply enjoy spending time together.

"People end up finding out they have a lot to offer," he said.

Currently the team has between five and 10 mentors and is hoping to gain more, as 10 more team members are currently interested in receiving mentorship.

The Nov. 16 meeting is being hosted by Stanford's Students To Oppose Poverty club and Richardson is hoping to spread the word that volunteers are needed.

The meeting is open to the public and begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Fire Truck House, 433 Santa Teresa St., Stanford. For more information, visit Downtown Streets Team.

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