November is National Runaway Prevention Month
by Pedro Sanchez
Tahoe Youth & Family Services
November is National Runaway Prevention Month, with the purpose of increasing awareness of issues facing runaways, and to educate the public about the solutions and the role they can play in preventing youth from running away. When a youth runs away from home, it affects the entire community.
What makes a youth decide to run away? According to recent studies, runaways frequently leave home due to physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Other reasons include neglect, fighting between parents or between parents and the youth, sexual orientation, drug or alcohol abuse or frequent changes in family structure, such as divorce, death or the addition of new members to the household. Failure to address these issues within the family or through institutions such as schools and mental health services, can lead to repeated running behavior and unsafe situations.
When a runaway leaves home they become at high risk for malnutrition, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, drug and alcohol abuse, robbery, sexual abuse and physical assault. Each one of us can play a vital role in the safety and well being of runaway youth in our community by being available to a youth who needs someone to talk to and knowing what resources are available in the Gardnerville and Minden area. Tahoe Youth and Family Services’ Drop In Center is an excellent resource for runaway, homeless, throwaway and couch surfing youth in our community to get their basic necessities met.
The drop in center is a great place for youth to get recharged, get resources, and get respect. Staff at the drop in center can assist youth with food, clothing, laundry services, showers, hygiene products, help looking for a job, and obtaining proper identification. The drop in center is open from 2-8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
If you would like more info about the drop in center or how you can help runaway youth in our community, contact Pedro Sanchez at 782-4202 or (530) 545-3189.
Pedro Sanchez is an outreach assistant at Tahoe Youth & Family Services.