Homeless Youth Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Alternatives For Girls

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AFG Joins National Campaign to Fight Child Trafficking in the United States

Aug. 28 2014 | Tags: , , ,

Within 48 hours of running away, a young person is likely to be solicited for prostitution or another form of sexual exploitation [1]. Alternatives For Girls fights this exploitation and trafficking by conducting nighttime and early morning street-based outreach to connect with girls and young women who are homeless, engaged in sex work, or possible victims of trafficking. Through providing resources, a snack, and safe choices, Alternatives For Girls lets these girls and young women know that they are not alone.

Alternatives For Girls is excited to announce that we’ve joined a national movement, Everyone’s Kids, Everyone Gives (EKEG), in a campaign to raise money to help fight child trafficking in the United States. This initiative is uniting nonprofits, foundations, celebrities and other influencers around the nation to raise $1 million dollars in 24 hours on September 16, 2014. With the leading crowdfunding platform for causes, Razoo, EKEG is engaging Americans across the country to take action and support the critical work these nonprofits do every day to protect our children. All monies raised will support the work of the participating nonprofits.

Want to help support Alternatives For Girls in the fight against human trafficking? Here’s what you can do:

  • Create your own Razoo fundraising page to raise money for Alternatives For Girls on Everyone’s Kids, Everyone Gives Day, September 16th.
  • Help spread the word about Everyone’s Kids, Everyone Gives Day and Alternatives For Girls on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.
  • Donate directly to Alternatives For Girls through our Everyone’s Kids, Everyone Gives Razoo page by scheduling or making a donation on September 16.

We invite you to be part of this important cause by lending your support to the campaign and to join us on September 16 to reach our goal of raising $1,000 for Alternatives For Girls. Together we can help empower young girls across the U.S. to take their lives back, and put an end to child sex trafficking in the U.S. for good. Keep a lookout for our progress and other updates about Everyone’s Kids, Everyone Gives Day on our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

[1] Family and Youth Services Bureau U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

AFG Works to Fight Youth Homelessness with Regional Alliance

Jul. 30 2014 | Tags: , , , , ,

Nationally, approximately 30,000 youth under the age of 18 are homeless and on their own for more than a week every year. [1]

Within 48 hours of running away, a young person is likely to be solicited for prostitution or another form of sexual exploitation. [2] 

Youth ages 13-24 are the least likely of any age group to know that they are infected with HIV. [3]

These are just a few of the staggering statistics about runaway and homeless youth that show the great need for programs that focus on ending the cycle of homelessness and poverty for our nation’s youth.

Here in Detroit, Alternatives For Girls is the only organization uniquely serving girls and women through shelter, outreach and prevention services. In this way, we are working to provide a holistic approaching to ending youth homelessness. As the statistics show, the problem of youth homelessness is vast and needs a broad approach if we hope to solve it. This is why Alternatives For Girls has teamed up with three other agencies in the community with the hope of reaching more individuals and providing a wide array of resources.

Alternatives For Girls, Common Ground, Ruth Ellis Center, and Starfish Family Services have come together to create the Runaway and Homeless Youth Regional Alliance (RHY Regional Alliance). The RHY Regional Alliance is dedicated to providing safe places where youth can access food, shelter, and short and long-term support to help them become self-sufficient and live independently.

The RHY Regional Alliance was created to help serve youth by focusing on building a strong infrastructure for the four partner organizations to better work together. It aims to improve data collection and sharing of information amongst the agencies and to carry out joint efforts to increase public awareness about the challenges faced by disconnected youth in Southeast Michigan.

The four agencies are all focused on the broad goal of serving runaway and homeless youth, but they each have different areas of expertise. The goal of the alliance is to bring these different strengths together to form a powerful partnership.

Alternatives For Girls has gender-specific knowledge and experience in meeting the needs of girls and young women. Our mission is to help homeless and high-risk girls and young women to avoid violence, teen pregnancy and exploitation, and help them to explore and access the support, resources and opportunities necessary to be safe, to grow strong, and to make positive choices in their lives.

Common Ground has expertise in mental health and crisis counseling. Its core purpose is helping people move from crisis to hope.

Ruth Ellis Center has expertise in serving lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Its mission is to provide short-term and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan.

Starfish Family Services focuses on healthy child development with a service model that recognizes children ultimately depend on strong families and strong communities to succeed. Primary programming areas include early childhood development, mental health and counseling, family supportive services, and youth services.

Alternatives For Girls is proud to be a member of the RHY Regional Alliance and is committed to using this collaborative effort to further our mission of helping homeless and high-risk youth to grow strong and to make positive choices in their lives.

[1] National Alliance to End Homelessness

[2] Family and Youth Services Bureau U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

[3] Family and Youth Services Bureau U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

AFG Heads to Lansing to Advocate for Homeless and Runaway Youth

May. 28 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

For the third year in a row, Alternatives For Girls staff and participants traveled to the state capitol to speak with State Representatives and build awareness of runaway and homeless youth. Every year the Michigan Network for Youth and Families (MNYF) organizes Dome Day, a day for organizations to set up shop in the Capitol, have meetings with State Legislators, bring awareness to the needs of runaway and homeless youth in Michigan, and convince them the importance of thinking of these youth when voting on the next budget. Although AFG staff planned on attending Dome Day on March 12th, along with other youth-focused agencies, the Outreach and Education Services (OES) and Shelter/Transition to Independent Living (TIL) staff were unable to attend due to inclement weather.

Undeterred from their original goal, OES and Shelter/TIL staff made arrangements with MNYF to schedule 7 to 8 meetings with State Legislators on April 30th. “Our main goal was to convey to the Legislators that although funding for runaway and homeless youth is currently tied in with the Foster Care system, because they have some similarities, there really needs to be separate funding because both groups are so unique”, explains Deena Policicchio, AFG’s Outreach and Education Services Director. According to Deena, this funding has not increased at the rate of cost of living. “In addition, we also wanted to connect the link between sex trafficking, which is on everyone’s mind right now, and homeless and runaway youth. Because homeless and runaway youth are some of the most vulnerable to sex trafficking, they really need to be focused on when creating legislation and allocating funds”, Deena explains.

Along with one current Shelter resident, Deena was joined by Lynzi Tarango, Shelter Case Planner, and Nkenge Burkhead, OES Youth Street Outreach Coordinator. Throughout the day, they met with staff from the offices of Representative Farris, Representative Lafontaine, plus others, and had an in person meeting with Representative Coleman A. Young. “One of the highlights of the day was getting the chance to meet with the Representatives. They were very interested and attentive to what we had to say”, Lynzi shares. The importance of the day was not lost on Raven, a current Shelter resident, who told Lynzi she didn’t realize how big of a deal it was that they had this opportunity until they got there. Lynzi explained, “Raven shared her experience of being homeless as well as her experiences since being here at AFG. She did a great job answering questions and advocating for homeless and runaway youth”.