The first snowfall has blanketed the valley and the temperature is quickly dropping as another year winds down to a close. The holidays are a time that I look forward to spending together with my family, but sadly that is not always the case for many of the youth and families that we serve.
Just one year ago, we opened the Homeless Youth Walk In program in collaboration with the Volunteers of America, Utah to better serve the runaway and homeless youth in Salt Lake County. Although we have made positive strides, there is still much work to be done.
Between 1.6 and 2.8 million runaway and homeless youth nationwide are living on the streets. In Utah last year, 714 youth from Utah called the National Runaway Hotline and an estimated 500 homeless and runaway youth are living on the streets in Salt Lake alone.
Life on the streets is dangerous for anyone, especially for a teen out on their own. Homeless teens often turn to shoplifting, theft, prostitution and drug us and selling drugs just to survive. Most drop out of school, about half of the females become pregnant and more than 30 percent have attempted suicide at least once in their short lives.
Homeless and runaway teens need our help. Please join us in raising awareness about National Runaway and Homeless Youth Prevention Month and look for ways to get involved in your community. We are always looking for one-time and ongoing volunteers, donors and sponsors for each of our programs.
We are grateful for the generosity of the community during this time to not only help the youth and families in need during the holiday season but also to carry through the entire year. Please consider supporting one of our programs as you look at your charitable contributions this season; a wish list is available for each of our programs in this edition of our newsletter.
Youth Services Director
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