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Youth and Family Services YMCA Shines Light on Tragedy of Homeless and Runaway Youth

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Youth and Family Services YMCA staff shared stories of local runaway and homeless youth who suffered abandonment and abuse, as well as how they found healing and a home, during a candlelight vigil held Nov. 4, 2015, in De La Guerra Plaza.

About two dozen people came together to raise awareness of the local and national tragedy of runaway and homeless youth, joining many across the nation who are speaking up during National Runaway Prevention Month this November. 

“We’re shining a light on something that’s been hidden in the darkness far too long,” said James Carlson, a clinical supervisor at Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter, run by Youth and Family Services YMCA.

Between 1.6 and 2.8 million young people run away every year in the United States. In the city of Santa Barbara, police receive nearly 150 calls for runaway and missing youth each year and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department receives more than 300 calls each year.

Youth and Family Services YMCA urges the community to think about how to better recognize and serve runaway and homeless youth as multifaceted, whole people.

Runaway and homeless youth come from every life circumstance, and most youth stay close to home and need safety for only a short period of time. Getting help lessens the chance of turning to dangerous situations to survive.

Youth and Family Services YMCA offers assistance to youth through Noah's Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter, providing temporary shelter for foster children, runaway, homeless and at-risk youth. Support and Outreach Services reaches out to youth living on the streets in Santa Barbara.

To support these life-changing programs offered by Youth and Family Services YMCA, click here to learn how you can get involved or make a donation. 

Hannah Rael is a publicist representing Youth and Family Services YMCA.

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