MMSD and Briarpatch Youth Services, Inc. are encouraging the community to participate in the Green Light Project to raise awareness of youth runaway issues and to educate the members of the community about solutions that help prevent youth from running away.
“Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away or are kicked out of the home in a year in the United States,” said Casey Behrend, Executive Director of Briarpatch. “Last year, there were 1,104 high school students in our community who fall into that category. And, on any given night, we estimate there are approximately 300 young people who are without secure housing.”
The Green Light Project is the symbol for National Runaway Prevention Month, and getting involved is easy. If you would like to participate, please encourage your students and staff in joining groups across the country to wear green on Wednesday, Nov. 16, take a group picture and put it on your social media platform with the hashtag #NRPM2016.
The challenges faced by at-risk, runaway, and homeless youth have been nearly invisible, but they’re starting to become part of community conversations. The more light we shed on this issue, the stronger our network of support for these young people will become.
On October 1, 2015, Briarpatch opened Dane County’s first and only shelter dedicated to homeless youth. This agency operates a 24-hour help line and offers counseling, temporary shelter, and other necessities until permanent housing and other supports are secured. Those interested in participating in the Green Light Project or accessing further information about Briarpatch can visit www.briarpatch.org.