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Only 126 days before the start of DVAM 2019...

National Runaway Prevention Month 2014: Piecing it all Together

 

Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away every year (Hammer, Finkelhor & Sedlak, 2002). This figure is staggering, yet the problem seems invisible. When a youth runs away, the impact is felt throughout the entire community. 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.

To bring awareness to this issue, every year the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) and National Network for Youth (NN4Y) spearhead the National Runaway Prevention Month (NRPM).

This year’s theme for NRPM 2014 is “Piecing it all Together,” in recognition that there are many pieces of a youth’s situation that need to be considered in order to provide the services that they need. This theme also represents the overlap between various at-risk and underserved youth populations. While many people tend to 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 abuse, and the juvenile justice system, are often interconnected.

"Piecing it all Together” exemplifies the NRS’ role as a national clearinghouse and go-to resource for runaway and homeless youth. At the NRS, they not only piece together the different services available – everything from shelter to counseling across the U.S. – but they also gather data to identify trends in runaway youth and youth homelessness.

Visit the National Runaway Safeline's webpage to learn about how you can participate and observe NRPM. There are a number of ways that you can get involved and help to raise awareness and provide access to services for the approximately 550,000 unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness each year (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2012). Some of the ways you can join include:

The Green Light Project (Month Long Observance): Bring the Green Light Project to your town this November. Showing your support for runaway youth is as easy as flipping a switch! Porch lights across the country will glow green during November to raise awareness and show support for runaway youth. You can become a part of the Green Light Project by distributing Green Lights in your community. The National Runaway Safeline has created light bulb labels and posters, which are customizable for your organization. Download the Community Action Kit to learn more about how to start a Green Light Project in your community. 

#tbt (November 6): On November 6th, people across the country will post a photo of themselves as a teenager to social media with the hashtags #irememberwhatitslike and #NRPM2014. Participants are also encouraged to include the link to NRS’ NRPM toolkit. Extra points if you make your photo your profile picture on Facebook!

Candlelight Vigil (November 13): Community groups and individuals across the country will host candlelight vigils on November 13th to show runaway and homeless youth that they are not alone.

"Wear Green" Day (November 20): Coordinate a “wear green” day with your friends, coworkers, students, and/or classmates on November 20th.

"Give Thanks" Thunderclap (November 27): On Thanksgiving, while families, individuals and communities reflect upon what they are thankful for, NRS is asking that everyone across the country “pay it forward” by participating in the NRS online thunderclap. A link to the thunderclap will be sent out through NRS email and social media for participants to share on their personal Facebook, Twitter, or via email. If you’ve never heard of a thunderclap before, think of it as the online version of a “funds raised” thermometers. Except, instead of measuring money, thunderclaps measure impressions.

To learn more about the intersections between runaway and homeless youth and intimate partner violence, check out NRCDV’s Runaway & Homeless Youth and Relationship Violence Toolkit. This toolkit organizes information, resources, tips and tools about the intersection of RHY and relationship violence. It also provides resources on intimate partner violence and the programs and networks that provide protections and support to victims of violence.

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