Art Linkletter’s old television show is a far cry from what homeless kids have to say. There is a place in Seattle where homeless youth can go called Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets (PSKS). Peace is what they’ll find here. Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, PSKS has been a safe haven since 1995. It was through them that I learned that many of the city’s homeless youth are not from Seattle.
Are you in the mood for donuts? Try watching a video that captures the dialogue between Seattle police officers and homeless youth. Even better, listen to what these young people have to say about being homeless.
PSKS considers its program to be the last stop for those who come in since many of the youth here have addiction problems. One of the goals of PSKS is to get homeless young people off the streets by empowering them with tools to prepare them for a better future life. One of those tools is H.Y.P.E. (Homeless Youth for Peace and Empowerment). This day program offers workshops, outreach, community meetings and slumber parties to count squatters. The center offers light lunches and healthy snacks along with badly needed services such as a telephone, internet services and an address.
Every year, PSKS holds a memorial to remember its “lost angels.” As a candle is passed to each person, he or she has an opportunity to speak a few words about who has been lost. These youth need to hear this. They need to know that they are wanted and there are people out in the world who genuinely care about them and would hold a vigil for them, but dread the thought.
To “meet” some more young people, look to “Endurance,” an online multimedia exhibit that captures on video the invisibility these street kids feel. A word of caution about these testimonies; they are raw and very real. Through giving homeless youth a way to be heard, “Endurance” will leave you with an impression you won’t soon forget.
Besides cash, PSKS and similar outreach organizations need donations of time. Think about volunteering as a mentor and finding out for yourself that homeless kids say the darnedest, most damning things.