Want to Help Runaway Teenagers? Join The Youth Activist League

The Youth Activist League is a group of young people across the country that responds to monthly ‘calls to action’ by NRS on their own social media pages. In answering these prompts they raise awareness of issues facing teenagers and help runaway teenagers, homeless, and at-risk youth, raise the visibility of NRS’ work and provide their input on social issues affecting youth. It is also a great exposure to activism, an important way to help their peers, and a great resume builder.

We ask for a commitment of one year; however, we understand that things frequently change in the lives of young people, so there are no ‘penalties’ for leaving the Youth Activist League earlier than anticipated. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Youth Activist League:

What does a typical call to action look like?

The typical call to action for the Youth Activist League is a specific prompt using a predetermined hashtag to track reach. An example might be:

Post a photo, quote, or original thought about what you think makes for a healthy relationship and use the #1800RUNAWAY and #healthylove

Are there other opportunities for the Youth Activist League members to help the National Runaway Safeline?

As part of the Youth Activist League, members can do as much for the National Runaway Safeline beyond the monthly calls to action as they want to. Some examples include; putting posters around their school, hosting bake sales, partnering with a teacher to do a ‘teacher for a day’ fundraiser, making t-shirts. Once members of the Youth Activist League, they will receive the full support of the Community Engagement Specialist at the National Runaway Safeline in undertaking National Runaway Safeline-related projects.

How do we know if the students completed the task? Will the National Runaway Safeline be monitoring our students’ social media pages?

The National Runaway Safeline’s hallmark is that we are confidential and anonymous. It is completely against our values to monitor young people’s personal pages. We will not look at their private pages or ‘tell on them,’ for anything. The use of hashtags is not for ‘spying’ but for gathering metrics and reach. We will only retweet, share, or repost with specific permission from the young person.

To maintain privacy in regards to educators, we recommend that students screen shot their posts or print off the posts so they can be viewed individually.

How can we measure posting on social media in terms of community service hours?

We encourage educators to measure the participation in a monthly call to action as two community service hours. While this may seem generous at first sight, the reach to friends and other contacts on social media has a profound impact, one that is comparable to probably even more than two hours of more ‘hands on’ community service. Their voice is incredibly valuable to us and to their homeless, runaway, and at-risk peers and we believe, therefore, that it should be treated as such.

Who can be in the Youth Activist League?

Any young person between the ages of 14 and 24 can be in the Youth Activist League, whether it is part of a school community service project or not. For students with community service requirements, this is a good option as it is low commitment with high impact. Some other groups who would find the Youth Activist League beneficial could be honor societies, service clubs such as Key Club, government classes, service learning classes, sports teams, etc.

How does a young person become part of the Youth Activist League?

A young person wanting to join the Youth Activist League can either sign up through their teacher, advisor, coach, etc. or email the Community Engagement Specialist, Andrea Medina, at amedina@1800RUNAWAY.org directly.

Their name and email will then be added to our list and they will be given prompts once a month. If the young person is no longer able to be a part of the Youth Activist League, they can email Andrea Medina and ask to be removed from the list.