During National Runaway Prevention Month (NRPM) in November, the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) and its partners have launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the runaway and homeless youth crisis and the issues that these young people face, as well as educate Americans about solutions and the role they can play in preventing and ending youth homelessness.
“Family members, educators and peers all have different ‘titles,’ but when a young person is in a tough situation these people also fit the role of ‘friend’ who they can talk to for support, a listening ear and caring advice,” said Maureen Blaha, NRS executive director. “Sometimes that guidance leads the youth to contact NRS, which is why this year’s NRPM theme is ‘Friends Helping Friends.'”
Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away in a year, and if they all lived in one city, it would be the fifth largest city in the United States. By participating in the following NRPM national activities, youth service agencies, community groups and individuals can show America’s runaway and homeless youth that they are not invisible and they are not alone:
- Facebook Profile Picture on Nov.1: Add the NRPM filter available here to your profile picture.
- Wear Green Day on Nov. 8: Take a photo wearing something green, the symbol of NRPM, and post it to social media with #NRPM2017.
- Candlelight Vigil on Nov. 15: Host a candlelight vigil in a neighborhood, school, place of worship, or other venue to show solidarity with youth in crisis.
- Selfie Sign Day on Nov. 22: Download the “Selfie Sign” at 1800RUNAWAY.org, take a photo with it, post it to social media using the caption “This is how I have helped a friend…,” and encourage others to share a story of how they have helped a friend.
On November 11th, NRS will host its 15th annual Spirit of Youth as part of its NRPM activities. The event builds visibility and educates the community about NRS’ services. In addition, Spirit of Youth, an indoor street festival at 1215 W. Fulton Market, aims to raise $250,000 for crisis services. The 2017 platinum sponsors are Allstate Insurance Company and United Airlines. The gold sponsors are AAR CORP, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Tube & Iron, Coldwell Banker, EY, Greyhound Lines, Inc., Ken Lavelle, Michele and Gary Lehman, Olympic Steel, PwC, Radio Flyer, SMB Help Desk, and the Wolfort Family Foundation.