November is National Runaway Prevention Month.
Included are the homeless, who are often identified among the runaways, according to Perla Rocha of the Women’s Center of San Joaquin County-Youth & Family Services.
At Tuesday’s Ripon City Council meeting, she was presented with a proclamation on behalf of the Women’s Center.
An estimated 130 young people throughout the county go homeless every night, Rocha noted.
“Runaway and homeless youth are young people with the least access to essential opportunities and support,” said Mayor Dean Uecker, reading from the very proclamation that supports the Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services. “These young people come from every life circumstance where the home environment is unsafe and unhealthy.”
The first step in prevention, he added, may be to understand the facts about runaway youths.
The Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services – the two non-profit organizations merged about three years ago – have been working diligently to increase public awareness on runaways and their family, providing positive and safe alternatives.
“Adults may act as mentors and role models for youth, guiding them toward available resources and safe, healthy productive choices,” Uecker said.
With nearly 80 years of combined experience, the Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services have provided services and shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault along with the homeless and runaway youth.