November is National Runaway Prevention Month |

November is National Runaway Prevention Month

Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away each year, while even more contemplate running.

Factors that lead youth to runaway are family conflict, sexual orientation, drug/alcohol related issues or escaping state care. For whatever reason youth choose to run away, life on the streets further exposes them to life threatening risks. Youths under the age of 18 are at higher risk for homelessness than adults. Young people who have made the choice to leave their homes are at an elevated risk for pregnancy, suicide attempts, substance abuse and participating in criminal activity.

Awareness and prevention is the best way to help the youth in our community from reaching the point in which they feel that running away is the best solution. November is National Runaway Prevention Month. It is a public education campaign coordinated between the National Runaway Switch Board, Tahoe Youth & Family Services, as well as people in the community. The goal is to increase awareness of the issues facing runaways and finding solutions to prevent youth from running away.

When a youth runs away, the impact is felt throughout the entire community. Working together to identify resources and to help youth develop life skills can make the difference between a youth running away or a youth finding needed resources.

Youth and families need to know that there are options and alternatives to running away from home and living on the streets.

Tahoe Youth and Family Services’ Drop-In Center is an excellent resource for runaway, homeless, throwaway and couch-surfing youth of 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.

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Staff at the Drop-In Center can assist youth with food, clothing, laundry services, showers, and hygiene kits, help looking for a job, a place to live and obtaining proper identification.

For more information on the South Lake Tahoe Drop-In Center or how to help runaway youth in the community, contact Tahoe Youth and Family Services South Lake Tahoe office at (530) 541-2445.

The South Lake Tahoe Drop-In Center is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 1 to 7 p.m. on Saturday. It is closed Sunday and Mondays. The center’s number is (530) 318-4017. Tahoe Youth & Family Services 24-hour crisis number is (800) 870-8937.