Our childhood experiences are the foundation of the beginning saga that is interwoven with our memories of family celebrations – including holidays and birthdays, which leave lasting imprints on our lives. The layers of tradition carry a scaffolding of beliefs for us to follow from parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins.
All these experiences mold our sense of stability and sense of self, while preparing us to face joys and trials of life (with the understood support of each other) and more importantly, a sense of belonging. Home is where we can be ourselves and have a sense of security; our youth is not supposed to face a future devoid of these reinforcements and homelessness.
One in every three homeless individuals is under the age of eighteen!
The National Coalition for the Homeless defines homeless youth as individuals under the age of eighteen who lack parental, foster, or institutional care. It is now established that approximately two million people under the age of eighteen will experience homelessness by the end of this year.
Other dilemmas that compound this issue are the risk of facing physical assault, and unattended medical and mental health issues, which have the potential repercussion of fatality.
In the past year, approximately fifty percent of runaway youth were physically abused and seeking resolution from a difficult home environment. While one tenth of female runaways are reportedly pregnant and homeless, homeless youth are ten times more likely to contract HIV than adolescents who are not homeless.
Please watch this video about teens slipping through the cracks and into the world of homelessness. It may change your life or that of a homeless youth.
We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love – Mother Teresa
Written by Cherie Watts, Deserving Decor Volunteer