November marks the time of the year that we give thanks with turkey dinner, football is in full swing, and American materialism celebrates its day on Black Friday. But most people don’t realize that November is also Colorado Homeless and Runaway Youth Awareness Month. With the homeless numbers reaching historic highs in Denver it is vital that November also becomes synonymous with the awareness of homeless youth.   

According to the Colorado Department of Education (CDOE), the population of homeless students in Denver has more than tripled in a 10 year span; going from 7,319 in 2004 to 24,062 in 2014. There are a number of phenomenal organization such as Dry Bones Denver, Urban Peak, and Purple Door Coffee that direct their outreach towards the homeless youth. But there is an untapped resource in solving this problem…it’s the unaware people of Denver!

Youth have been diverted to their current circumstance for a myriad of reasons.  The CDOE say that often the circumstances leading to a homeless youth becoming unaccompanied, are related to some level of dysfunction within the family including: challenges related to blended families, substance abuse, pregnancy, and sexual activity or orientation.  Also youth can become unaccompanied as a result of parental neglect and abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, or substance), incarceration, illness or deportation. All of this translates to the lives of the kids lacking one thing, “LIGHT”! Which represents God’s Love, Grace, and Goodness in their lives. I believe that the power of God can intervene at any point of a child’s life and change the trajectory of their path.

The organizations will do as much as they can with your financial help, but you will be surprised the effects a quick conversation or acknowledgment you give that homeless child will go if you run into them on the street. Representing the Love of God can plant a seed in the heart of that child that can truly help change the trajectory of their path. When you combine this with the work that Lime Light plans to do, we can slowly bring hope to the homeless and begin to transform their lives.

If the month of November can truly grow the awareness of this problem, then awareness will lead to action and action to changed lives. But it’s not until an individual is made aware of a situation that they realize there is a problem, so if this is your introduction to the rising problem then make sure awareness leads to action.

Link to CDOE fact sheet on youth homeless