It's National Runaway Prevention Month and here at FCA, we mark the occasion with words and symbols, but also with concrete action. Tonight, as we have done every other night for the last 40 years, we will take in a few of the estimated 2.2 million US youth who run away or become homeless each year.
The numbers are staggering and on the rise as more and more youth run away from home, are asked to leave their homes and/or become homeless for a variety of reasons. Invisible to most, they sleep in parks, in cars, in foreclosed houses or on their friends' couches. How do they get there?
In some cases, poverty and chronic or episodic unemployment conspire with a lack of affordable housing to send entire households into homelessness, increasing the likelihood that those families will separate or dissolve. If the recent economic recession has taught us anything it's that even a seemingly minor event or temporary shift in income can trigger a catastrophic outcome and catapult an entire family onto the streets.
In other cases, there's "more than meets the eye" as the theme for this year's National Runaway Prevention Month suggests.
Statistics from the National Runaway Safeline show that the majority (29%) of callers identify family dynamics (divorce, remarriage, step/blended families, problems with family rules, discipline, or problems with siblings) and abuse as the reason for their call. Often kids run away from home to remove themselves from an immediately painful situation, but they have no plans or resources for what to do next.
We know that kids in the foster care system are at increased risk for homelessness. One University of Chicago study found that by the time they are in their mid-twenties, more than one-third of youth who age out of foster care will have been homeless at least once.
We also know first-hand that identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) can put LGBTQ youth at risk of being harassed or kicked out of their homes. Those who are pregnant or parenting are also at higher risk due to stigma and family rejection, while youth who are already homeless are more likely to become pregnant compared to their housed peers.
Many youth face traumatic events before they leave home - physical, emotional, and sexual abuse are paramount - and are re-traumatized while living on the street. In most cases, the abuse, sometimes perpetrated by a distant family member or a neighbor goes undisclosed, unreported and the trauma remains untreated, creating a lifetime of pain.
While many people, youth organizations and government agencies think of various youth populations as separate, the fact is that issue areas such as bullying, abuse, youth violence, human trafficking, LGBTQ, foster care, substance use, mental health disorders and involvement in the juvenile justice system, are often interconnected. Our young people are facing multiple challenges and here at FCA, we remain focused on connecting the dots. We are making sure that the needs of Long Island's young people are addressed in a comprehensive and lasting way and that the complexities of these kids is reflected in our services.
Most importantly, during the month of November and every other month, we are reminding Long Islanders that these are not bad kids; they are good kids in bad situations and they need our help.
P.S.Please give to help shelter a runaway teen.
November is National Runaway Prevention Month and we're raising awareness about the issues that runaways and homeless youth face. Did you know that 1.6 to 2.8 million youth runaway from home every year? We believe approximately 1500-1800 of them are right here on Long Island, sleeping in train stations, on friends' couches or in fast food restaurants.
FCA is helping hundreds of young people in crisis and so can you. Here's a list of activities you can do to ensure that our young people get the help they need:
Thank you for caring!
HAVE A BALL ON 11/19
Join us at the Garden City Hotel on November 19th for our biggest event of the year: The ThanksGIVING Holiday Ball! There'll be:
We'll be joined by clients who can share their stories of triumph over adversity and inspire us to continue to transform lives on Long Island. We'll also be ringing in the season of giving and celebrating the commitment of our volunteers, donors, staff and supporters. Call 516-746-0350 x364 or e-mail us to attend.
HERO OF THE MONTH
Three cheers for November Hero of the Month Adam Krainson! Adam won a poker tournament and asked his fellow players to donate to FCA in support of our work with runaway and at-risk youth. Want to be a hero? Call Don Holden at 516-746-0350 x333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
YEAR END APPEAL IS AT YOUR DOOR!
Be on the lookout for our annual appeal which is on its way to our friends and supporters. In it you'll find heartwarming stories of survival and triumph over adversity - all because people like you cared enough to support our mission. If you're not on our mailing list, let us know via email and we'll send you a copy. To support our appeal, click here . Thank you for being part of our community of caring - people who do more than think about others, people who care enough to give.
SAVE THE DATE
The mission of Family & Children's Association is to protect and strengthen Long Island's most vulnerable children, seniors, families, and communities. We offer assistance to those who are experiencing social, emotional and economic challenges.
Family & Children's Association e-newsletter is made available to our friends, sponsors, donors, volunteers and employees for informational purposes only. The information contained in this communication is not intended as advice or to take the place of professional counseling.
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