If all youth runaways in the U.S. lived in one city, it would be the fifth largest city in the country. That’s why the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) and National Network for Youth (NN4Y) announced that November is National Runaway month. Their hope is to raise awareness of the runaway and homeless youth crisis and the issues that these young people face, as well as to educate the public about solutions and the role that they can play in ending youth homelessness.
“This year’s theme ‘More than Meets the Eye’ is designed to dispel stereotypes about runaway, homeless and at-risk youth by illustrating the essences of every young person,” said NRS Executive Director Maureen Blaha. “These youth are daughters, sons, students, children. Let’s focus on how to better serve these kids.”
The NRS and NN4Yare bringing national awareness by featuring special events. On Nov. 12, people are being asked to wear green to work and/or school. A candlelight vigil will be held on Nov. 19 where community groups and individuals across the country will show runaway homeless youth that they are not alone.
Joining the cause is the Family and Children’s Association (FCA), Long Island’s leading human service agency. FCA helps hundreds of youth in crisis every year by providing shelter, food, counseling and support through a variety of residences and community-based programs.
“These are good kids who find themselves in difficult situations and it’s up to all of us to do what we can to keep them safe,” said FCA President/CEO Jeffrey L. Reynolds, Ph.D. “By sharing information and opening up the conversation, each of us can shed light on the plight of these vulnerable young people.”
FCA is inviting Long Islanders to get involved by getting and giving “the green” in a series of activities designed to raise awareness for this issue. They’ll be hosting the following activities and encourage fellow Long Islanders to participate in any way that they can.
1. GIVE US THE GREEN—FCA is asking for donations to support their shelter for young people. Known as Nassau Haven, it is the only youth emergency shelter on Long Island. FCA also offers a transitional residence for young people who cannot return home or be reconciled with their families; it is the only residence of its kind in Nassau County. Homeless young people can live in safety with FCA for up to 18 months while they develop the skills they’ll need to become self-supporting adults.
2. SHARE IT—FCA wants to make sure that all local schools and places of worship have information on their services for at-risk youth. Call us at 516-746-0350 to have information sent to your school. Help FCA spread the word by sharing this information on your Twitter or Facebook page. Friend FCA at https://facebook.com/familyandchildrens
3. WEAR IT—Show your support for runaway youth by wearing a green wristband. Visit 100 E. Old Country Road, Suite 24, Mineola to pick up your free “runaway awareness” wristband. Get some for your friends too (while supplies last).
4. LIGHT IT—Through the week of Nov. 13, the dome of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Office Building will be illuminated green. Make sure to light your home with green as well by picking up a free green light bulb (while supplies last) for the front of your house in support of Runaway Prevention Month. Visit 100 E. Old Country Road, Suite 24, Mineola to pick up a bulb.
5. GREEN SOCK DAY —Nov. 12 has been named GREEN SOCK DAY so please show your support by wearing green socks and taking a selfie. Post your selfie on FCA’S Facebook page and don’t forget to tag #NRPM2015 and ask your friends to make a donation in honor of your green feet.
6. CASUAL GREEN FRIDAY—Show your support on Nov. 13 by wearing your best green outfit. Make sure you take a selfie or group picture and upload it to FCA’s Facebook page.
Research shows that an average of 1.6 to 2.8 million youth runaway in the U.S. in a single year. Of that number, 1,500 to 1,800 young people either runaway or end up homeless on Long Island alone. Join the NRS, NN4Y and the FCA throughout the month of November and help bring awareness to National Runaway Prevention Month.