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Shelter: Where Harvard Meets the Homeless Hardcover – September 2, 2010

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1441137371 ISBN-10: 1441137378 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

For 25 years in a bastion of wealth and power—the campus of Harvard University—the University Lutheran Church has offered a homeless shelter, the only student-run shelter in the nation. Education professor Seider, who worked as a volunteer at the shelter more than a decade ago, chronicles typical nights, serving food, dispensing cots, and conversing on everything from politics to religion to the vicissitudes of life. Seider interviewed students, alumni, and the homeless (referred to as guests) for an insightful look at privilege and poverty side by side. Some 100 students rotate positions, acting as directors or volunteers, taking full responsibility for providing meals, beds, and showers for 25 homeless men and women seven nights every week. Seider intersperses sociological, psychological, and even religious perspectives on this break in the “Harvard bubble,” the energy and optimism of students with glowing futures and the stories behind the current circumstances of the homeless, including loss of jobs and drug and alcohol addiction. By focusing on the individuals involved, Seider offers an inspiring new look at Harvard and homelessness. --Vanessa Bush

Review

"Scott Seider's study of a homeless shelter in the shadow of Harvard Yard promises to catalyze conversations about what it means to be a civilized society. This insightful book could not be more timely or more important." - Howard Gardner



"In each generation, some privileged and talented young Americans commit their lives to social reform. How they choose to do so affects the future of the nation. Scott Seider's rich and insightful study of Harvard students who run a homeless shelter provides an informative portrait of today's young leaders and their struggle to understand and confront injustice." - Dr. Peter Levine, Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University



"This highly readable in-depth case study of a homeless shelter run entirely by college students has a lot to teach anyone concerned with the civic engagement of young people. This book made me reexamine some of my long held beliefs about the sustainability and impact of volunteer service efforts led by students and not connected to curriculum. It reinforced my belief that given an opportunity, young people can, and will, do extraordinary things to improve their world." - Elizabeth Hollander, Executive Director, National Campus Compact, 1997-2006



"What makes Scott Seider's Shelter remarkable is the elegant manner in which he has explored and interwoven some of the most important themes in American life. This is more than a compelling study of young students doing community service with a homeless population. It is an examination of life histories and narratives, class conflicts, the meaning of human care, and the discovery of self and community.
Beautifully conceived and written, Shelter will stand as a model for social scientists hoping to understand, appreciate, and honor complex sociological and psychological matters." -
Dr. Thomas Cottle, Professor of Education, Boston University



"This book about a homeless shelter run by Harvard students is also about topics that too often fall off our radar; how we treat - and ought to treat - the marginalized and down and out among us, the particular, powerful contributions that young people can make to improving the lives of others, how young people develop mature ideals and, perhaps most essentially, what economic class means in America. Because Scott Seider is such a good listener and thinker, it's a book that brims with wisdom and humanity." - Dr. Richard Weissbourd, author of The Parents We Mean to Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children's Moral and Emotional Development



"This book about a homeless shelter run by Harvard students is also about topics that too often fall off our radar; how we treat - and ought to treat - the marginalized and down and out among us, the particular, powerful contributions that young people can make to improving the lives of others, how young people develop mature ideals and, perhaps most essentially, what economic class means in America. Because Scott Seider is such a good listener and thinker, it's a book that brims with wisdom and humanity." - Dr. Richard Weissbourd, author of The Parents We Mean to Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children’s Moral and Emotional Development

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic; 1 edition (September 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441137378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441137371
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,808,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By F. Reisz on September 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Scott Seider has written an analysis of the impact on their lives of Harvard students volunteering at a Shelter for Homeless men and women in Harvard Square. The Shelter at University Lutheran Church has existed for 27 years. Seider gives the history of this unique Shelter, the only one of its kind in the USA. He analyzes the procedures in the Shelter and the experiences of the students and homeless people. He is sensitive to the needs and interactions between these vastly dissimilar groups of people. He demonstrates and concludes that there is an immediate and long-term positive impact on both the homeless people and the students. He strongly advocates for the establishment of similar homeless shelters run by student volunteers. This is a good book on the value of in-service education. It also gives you a realistic glimpse into the lives of homeless street people.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Visenio on December 25, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There were some great points raised throughout the book, educating about homlessness, and changing general attitudes about the homeless as lazy and self-deserving of their situation.

As much as I agree with the point of the book, I believe the delivery simply was not as great as I would have liked. As clear as it was meant to be, sometimes the author would repeat several quotations or previous arguments so much to the point of rambling in later chapters. The book has the possibility to be shorter, more concise, and equally effective.

Also Santa Anna, the city in Orange County in one of the final chapters, is spelled Santa Ana for future editions.

Overall, good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Greenberg on August 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
Props to the author for an engaging first book. The topic is instantly engaging, and the prose and story delivers. Highly recommend as a book to keep you totally interested and push your thinking. Well done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eva on February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was purchased for a college course. It is an excellent, insightful book. I am satisfied with my purchase.
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