Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November: Homeless Youth Awareness Month

Well, November is a lot of things. It is Native American Pride Month. That is a time for folks of First Nations ancestry to take pride in their history, their culture and to honor their ancestors.

Honoring ancestors, that is a big part of November. We have All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Mexican-Americans have Day of the Dead.

It is a month in which the harvest is completed and Americans gather to mark a Day of Thanksgiving.

However, November heralds winter and it marks a sadder occasion. November is also Homeless Youth Awareness Month. The temperature is dropping and across the nation over a million young people are trying to find a safe place, a dry place, a warm place to sleep, just for tonight. They did the same thing last night and they will have the same struggle tomorrow evening.

As I write this I can feel the cold come in through my window. But hey, I got a window, a room just for writing, family and pets. I can turn up the heat or put on a sweater. The cold is not a threat to me, neither is the night.

I interact with our homeless almost daily. I talk to them in the park. I work with folks who are active at St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen. I talk with Carlton from the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission. I work with people active at Ave Maria House. However, it was not until I was in Chicago with Emmaus Ministries and I interacted with homeless youth (that was not our mission but we were not going to ignore them) that I was touched by the pain and anxiety that marks the life of homeless teen.

The largest organization serving homeless youth in America

Luckily, a lot of people are trying to ease this problem, one youth at a time. So Covenant House does what is always does, shelter and care for homeless youth. However, as the temperature drops there is an added urgency to this mission. Virgin Mobile USA is teaming up with Help USA to address the problem To that end Virgin Mobile USA is a sponsor of a Public Enemy #1 Concert to aid homeless youth.

We all have our favorite charities. We are all strapped for money in an uncertain and freighting economy. However, as we get ready to gather with our families and give thanks for what we have let us not forget those who for whatever reasons, are forgotten and in the cold. Give what you can. And if you can’t give or even if you can, pray for the youth and pray for their families.

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