As we gear up for the holiday season this November, many of us will begin to count our blessings. At the same time, an overwhelming number of young people across the country will be trying to figure out where to sleep or receive their next meal.
To raise awareness for these youth who runaway and/or experience homelessness, the National Network for Youth (NN4Y) and the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) are spearheading the annual National Runaway Prevention Month (NRPM). The goals of #NRPM2015 are twofold:
- To raise awareness for the runaway and homeless youth crisis and the issues these young people face, and
- To educate the public about solutions and how they can help end youth homelessness.
NRPM began in October 2002, when President Bush hosted the landmark White House Conference on Exploited and Runaway Children. What was once known as the National Runaway Prevention Week was subsequently expanded into a month-long prevention and awareness campaign. Over the years, members of Congress have taken steps to commemorate NRPM in the form of House and Senate Resolutions. Proud sponsors of NRPM resolutions include Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV), Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R- UT), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AK).
This year’s motto – “More than Meets the Eye” – is meant to dispel stereotypes by depicting the complexity of young Americans in need. As a country, we should always strive to recognize runaway and homeless youth as multifaceted and whole people.
In order to raise awareness for the experiences of runaway and homeless youth, we ask all followers, volunteers, staffers and agencies to become involved! This year, there are four national events, including two online sub-campaigns.
- #tbt: On November 5th, post a picture of yourself as a teenager on social media for #tbt using the caption “I remember what it’s like” and tag it with #NRPM2015.
- “Wear Green” Day: Coordinate green outfits with your friends, coworkers, students, and/or classmates on November 12th.
- Candlelight Vigil: Community groups and individuals across the country will be hosting candlelight vigils on November 19th to show runaway and homeless youth that they are not alone.
- Thunderclap: Throughout the month of November, we are asking supporters to opt into our Thunderclap – which will go live on Thanksgiving Day. Think of it like the Groupon of social media engagement; once a pre-set number of people opt in, then the campaign begins! Learn more at Thunderclap.it and check our Facebook and Twitter pages for more updates.
For all media inquiries, please contact Trent Hagan at 202-783-7949 or Trent.Hagan@nn4youth.org.