Youth homelessness is an ongoing crisis in the U.S., especially for vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community, who are facing the impacts of discriminatory legislation at the state level across the country and whom not every outreach organization is willing to help. As stated by the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures), "Each year, an estimated 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness, of which 700,000 are unaccompanied minors, meaning they are not part of a family or accompanied by a parent or guardian. On any given night, approximately 41,000 unaccompanied youth ages 13-25 experience homelessness."
"Our volunteers working with youth at street level have learned that sex acts are solicited from homeless youth for as little as $5. Think about that for a second - the price of a sandwich for a hungry kid, for an act they can't take back, that will inflict mental, emotional and often physical anguish on them for the rest of their life," said Maria Verastegui, Executive Board Chair, StandUp for Kids. "The 48 Hours on the Streets campaign is a concerted effort by our volunteers to reach homeless youth at their most vulnerable moments, ideally within those crucial first two days on the streets in which their lives can change forever - for better or worse."
Starting on Friday, April 22, at 5:00pm and ending at the same time on Sunday, April 24, StandUp for Kids volunteers all across the country will hit the streets for 48 consecutive hours in search of homeless and at-risk youth, between the ages of 12 and 24, to distribute food, clothing, hygiene products, resource information, and referrals. Local programs will organize activities and hands-on projects for volunteers and youth to target the needs in their community. To help support the 48 Hours campaign and all of StandUp for Kids' vital work, please visit www.standupforkids.org/donate.
Adds Verastegui: "From street outreach, like what we're doing for the 48 Hours campaign, to housing support, to mentoring, StandUp for Kids volunteers are dedicated to showing each kid that they are valued, that there is a place for them in the world, and that there are caring people who will help them to find their way."
About StandUp for Kids
At StandUp for Kids, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, our mission is to end the cycle of youth homelessness - one youth at a time, in cities across America. Since 1990, we have served homeless youth ages 12-24 by transitioning them from crisis to connection. We give our youth a sense of safety, hope, and belonging through housing support, mentoring, drop-in centers, and street outreach. StandUp for Kids has chapters across the country; to learn more, please visit standupforkids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
Susana Leiser, Senior Account Executive