Learn more about National Runaway Prevention Month and its vital role in our mission.
Established in 2002, National Runaway Prevention Month is an awareness and prevention campaign that is sponsored by ourselves and the National Network for Youth (NN4Y).
Originally called National Runaway Prevention Week, President George W. Bush hosted a conference at the White House that focused on the needs of runaway and exploited children, the first summit of its kind. Leaders from around the country gathered to discuss the issues around runaway youth, and the week was expanded to a month-long observance.
The goals of the campaign are to raise awareness of the runaway and homeless youth crisis and the issues that they face, as well as to educate the public about solutions and the role they can play in ending youth homelessness. One of the unfortunate facts to be aware of is that between 1.6 million and 2.8 million youth run away each year. If all of these youth lived in one city, it would be the fifth-largest city in the United States. It is this and other statistics that NRPM allows us to share that makes the campaign so vital to our cause.
We, along with our national partners, participate in various activities and share useful resources with our networks, such as our candlelight vigil on November 13th and “Wear Green” Day on November 20th. Our NRPM toolkit is a great resource for those who are interested in joining us to help end youth homelessness. Our NRPM storytelling kit offers a host of books and literature that helps illustrate the plight of runaway youth, appropriate for young and older readers alike.
NRPM is also the time for our annual gala, Spirit of Youth. This special evening is a gathering of our board of directors, associate board, supporters, staff and volunteers to celebrate our mission and to raise funds for our 24-hour youth crisis call center. In the past, we have been able to honor prominent individuals for their support including:
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (2007 Spirit of Youth Award winner, pictured with Executive Director of NRS, Maureen Blaha)
And Cyndi Lauper (2011 Spirit of Youth Award Winner):
Our celebrity supporters are staunch advocates for runaway and homeless youth, donating their time and attention to our cause and advocating for homelessness issues on Capitol Hill.
Despite all of our efforts, we are still challenged by the enormity and scale of youth homelessness and the issues that cause youth to run away. We need the help of society to recognize that we are in a crisis and that measures must be taken to help those in need. NRPM is our opportunity to share our message, but we need our society to be aware of this issue year-round.
If you are interested in helping us, please share our toolkits, and follow us on social media with our Thunderclap, a special social media program designed to amplify our message through our network of followers.