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Youth Face Homelessness

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It shocks most people when they hear it: the average age of a homeless person in America is … nine! And in most big cities, thousand of teens have no place to live or no adult supervision. A group of Chicago youth got an eye-opening lesson in the challenges these homeless youngsters face, and Reed Galin shows us how one of them took action.     

 
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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Chicago, Illinois)

On a frigid night, these middle-class kids get a cold dose of reality. Like many large cities, Chicago has 10,000 teenagers with no place to live. So, this group wonders how a 12 or 14-year-old would survive on the streets.

Henry Nash, 12-year-old: “I’m looking for a place that I could spend the night and find something to eat.”

They find a spot in an alley behind a hospital, where someone lives in a cardboard box and digs through dumpsters for scraps of food.

Isabel Hale, 13-year-old: “I was thinking a lot about how scary it was, because we walked through alleys.”

Fortunately for these kids, their homelessness only lasts an hour.

The so-called “night walk” is an interactive experience offered by the non-profit “Night Ministry”.

Leader to youth group: “You were scared...”

After the walk, the participants open up about the desperation they witnessed.

Isabel Hale, 13-year-old: “I felt like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe people actually have to do this’ and I only did it for an hour.”

Church member to Matthew: “Matthew, congratulations on your work.”

Matthew Lipman saw a need to help homeless youth even before the “night walk”.

Matthew Lipman, 13-year-old: “You take for granted your shoes and brushing your teeth, but some people don’t even have some of those things.”

Matthew at donation table: “Thank you.”

Matt organized a donation drive at his home church, First United Methodist, to get money and materials to make hygiene kits.

He raised nearly a thousand dollars and enough toothpaste, toothbrushes and shampoo for dozens of kits.

Joan Brogdon, Matthew’s Mother: “He’s impressed about how generous various church members are and he’s really inspired by this.”

Inspired … but also saddened by the ongoing problem … Matthew and his classmates left the “night walk” vowing to get others involved.

Henry Nash, 12-year-old: “I would tell them to appreciate what you have, even if it’s not much, it’s still something.”

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For more information on the night walk and other activities, you can visit the Web site.

Also, see: Youth experience 'night walk' as homeless teen