November is National Runaway Prevention Month. Chosen by a number of nonprofits as a chance to spotlight the issues surrounding youth homelessness and runaways, Runaway Prevention Month started in 2002.
The aim is simple. To increase the community’s understanding of homeless youth and runaways, as well as the hardships these children face, and offer solutions. The National Runaway Safeline has spearheaded the campaign for years and encourages the public to play an active role in ending youth homelessness.
According to the National Runaway Safeline website: In a year, 1.6 to 2.8 million youth run away from home, these numbers are unacceptable.
Yet, showing your support for this campaign can help bring a much-needed awareness to these numbers and the stories of the real children they represent. All too often, we stigmatize runaways and homeless youth. We perceive them as “bad kids” or “lost causes.“ When they’re often good kids attempting to escape a bad life, situation, or abuser. We might never know the reasons why these youth choose to run, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying to help. It shouldn’t stop us trying to prevent other children from enduring this plight.
If you would like to get involved this month, here are 8 easy ways to show your support and get involved:
- Wear Green. Green is the color chosen by National Runaway Prevention Month to bring awareness to runaways and youth homelessness. Wear a green ribbon pinned to your outfit. Use questions from friends and acquaintances about your new accessory as an opportunity to discuss the issues.
- Book Club. If you’re a member of a book club, consider selecting a book about runaways and homelessness. Then, spend the subsequent meeting educating yourself on the facts. Check out this resource for reading recommendations. Brainstorm solutions you can implement in your community.
- Attend Events. Check with nonprofits in your area to see if they have planned any events or programming for Runaway Prevention Month. From talks given by former teen runaways to fundraising dinners, there’s a ton of ways to publicly show support.
- Write! Submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about how the homeless youth crisis impacts your area. Have a blog? Write a post to educate your readers about Runaway Prevention Month and why it is so important.
- Movie Night. Host a movie night for your church/youth group. There are a ton of great movies and documentaries to choose from that deal with youth homelessness and runaways. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Posts on Social Media. Prepare a few posts to go out throughout the month letting followers know about the month and what it means. Share ways they can get involved, too.
- Create a Display. Ask your work, children’s school, church, or local library if you could create a display or bulletin board in honor of Runaway Prevention Month. Include statistics and facts about the youth homelessness crisis, as well as stories of runaways to attach a narrative to the numbers.
- Host a Fundraiser. Set up an opportunity to raise money for this important cause at your church, office, or club. Find an organization or nonprofit in your area that is working with runaways or doing their part to curb the crisis. Donate the money you raise.