supporting youth in crisis
Beth Mongold, 1 Act a Day founding member
I work and live in and around Boulder, CO--a very wealthy town located in a county that has the second highest homeless population in Colorado.
One of the more heart breaking facts is that many of the homeless here are young people--teens who have home lives that are so painful or abusive that living on the street is a better option. They are often kids who struggle with drug addiction or mental illness.
Attention Homes, a Boulder nonprofit, offers services to this most vulnerable group. In August of 2016 the Boulder 1 Act group spent a morning cooking food at The Source, Attention Home’s drop-in center and shelter. We helped cook a hearty lunch and also bagged peanut butter sandwiches for the street outreach team to hand out later that day.
Attention Homes was created in 1966 by a group of people who wanted to address the large numbers of teens getting processed through the penal system—as so many homeless people are. Today, in 2016, it is illegal to “camp” overnight in any public area, which often means the homeless are rounded up and thrown in jail. This can become a vicious cycle of jail time, fines, being unable to pay those fines, then back to jail.
The foundation of Attention Homes is “Attention not Detention”. I was really impressed with the dedication of the staff—it’s obvious how much they care about the kids, and they maintain a fun, uplifting environment. True to their principles, they provide psychological assistant, career counseling and fun activities for the kids they serve.
This week has been the first real snow in our area. It hurts to imagine such young beings—or anyone at all—left to fend for themselves in winter weather. Please learn more about Attention Homes and the great work they are doing to protect and encourage our young people.
Attention Homes provides life-changing resources for homeless youth.
Resources to learn more
Things you can do
Understand who the homeless are - Help dispel the stereotypes about the homeless. Learn about the different reasons for homelessness, and remember, every situation is unique.
Educate yourself about the homeless - A homeless person may be someone who lost their job, a runaway child, or someone with a mental illness. One of the first steps in helping people is to see them as individuals and to find out what they need. Notice them; talk to them. Most are starved for attention.
Respect the homeless as individuals - Give the homeless people the same courtesy and respect you would accord your friends, your family, your employer. Treat them as you would wish to be treated if you needed assistance.
Respond with kindness - We can make quite a difference in the lives of the homeless when we respond to them, rather than ignore or dismiss them. Try a kind word and a smile
Read more at 35 ways to help the homeless...