Written by Founder Rebecca Welsh
1) The next time you empty the trash, remember that those big black bags are a suitcase for a lot of kids. It holds all their belongings – their clothing, their shoes, their life. When moving into housing, one girl carried in her trash bag and dumped it out saying, “I know, I have a lot of stuffed animals. But they are all I have from my childhood, and I just can’t throw them away.” Another girl defied the odds and received a scholarship to a major university. When we helped her move in to her dorm room, she had 2 black trash bags with everything she owned. She will rise above.
2) Getting sick is the WORST for homeless kids. They don’t get mom’s chicken soup. Nobody is taking their temperature or making them tea. Katy was incredibly sick last week with some sort of ugly infection. She visited multiple doctors’ offices and free clinics but they wouldn’t treat her because as a 16 year-old, she needs her mother to be present. Her drug-addicted mother goes missing for weeks at a time. Not only does Katy have to deal with abandonment, she can’t find anyone to help her physically feel better. It is the worst. These kids get really, really sick for long periods of time, end up in the emergency room, and miss multiple days of school. Something they don’t need when getting caught up is hard enough as it is.
3) They can’t get a job because they can’t get a drivers’ license because they don’t have anyone to help them learn to drive a car. If they take Drivers Ed class in school, they still need an adult with a car to drive them to the DMV and allow them to borrow their car to take the driving test, which means they need a stable adult in their life. Not happening. They also need some sort of identification, which is hard to come by when no one has cared enough to hold on to their social security card or birth certificate. Good luck with that.
4) They don’t like to ask for help. Imagine asking ALL OF THE TIME for basic needs like a couch to sleep on, a half of sandwich, a ride to school, an aspirin, a tampon, a shower, a towel, a bar of soap, or an opportunity to wash your clothes. Imagine feeling like a burden to every person in your life, indefinitely. It makes the act of asking for help the dreaded enemy. We must tell them time and time again that we are here for them, not going anywhere, and we truly enjoy helping them because they are our family.
5) They are resilient. All these things and the many other cards stacked against them make them tough as nails. They are used to being told no, being judged because of the way they look or smell, and having to fight an incredibly uphill battle every single day. Barriers are nothing to them. When somebody finally believes in them, and they finally believe its true, they are able to accomplish anything. The barriers the average person faces are nothing in comparison. So, as a society, what can we do? To reach out. To embrace them. To believe in them. To treat them like they are family. Because we are the only one they have.
Join the movement. We are letting at-risk and homeless youth know we believe in them by wearing shirts that tell them so. HALO plans on selling thousands of these everywhere so we can spread the word. Click here to purchase your BELIEF t-shirt today. They are SUPER soft & comfy by the way.