National Youth Homelessness Awareness

National Youth Homelessness Awareness

Every year, National Homelessness Awareness Month is celebrated in November, a month associated with giving thanks and rejoicing in our overflow. November was specifically chosen to allow people to reflect on their situation and identify the aspects of their lives that they can be thankful to spotlight a direct juxtaposition to the lives of those without homes. In an effort to dispel misconception and shine a light on this crucial issue, The Titan Times has partnered with the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Blessed Trinity Catholic High School to bring awareness to the extent of youth homelessness around our community and offer a few ways in which the student body can help.

Blessed Trinity junior, Ava Lindo, believes one of the most important ways to begin solving a problem of this magnitude is to recognize the scope of what youth homelessness has become. Fellow Blessed Trinity junior, Elise Cameriri, admits, “I really did not know much about youth experiencing homelessness, but now that it has been introduced to me, I can see how big of a problem it is.” In fact, a Georgia State University study concluded that there are over three thousand homeless under the age of 25 in the metro Atlanta area as of last November, citing much larger findings than those of the City of Atlanta and highlighting a significant discrepancy.

These are hard statistics to ignore, and BT religion teacher, Ms. Vilardi is heartbroken “that so many young people are experiencing homelessness.” Understanding the causes of this youth homelessness to be familial, drug-related, or the by-product of the broken foster care system, Vilardi adds, “so many of us have been blessed with stable home lives, but we can’t forget that there are many young people who have anything but that.” According to Camerieri, “that is just the beginning of their challenges.” Lindo corroborates this assertion, saying, “half of the youth that left home reported they had left due to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.”

Lindo feels as though she has been called to “speak out about the tragic realities of homeless youth,” and maintains that by “raising awareness, action can be done to protect and provide for our youth to ensure that they have a path out of homelessness.”With the words of Matthew 25:40 in mind, Vilardi implores each Blessed Trinity student to “support organizations that help youth who are experiencing homelessness, like Covenant House, Stand Up for Kids, Lost ‘N Found Youth, Atlanta Children’s Shelter, etc. by doing service or providing needed supplies.” Vilardi has been involved with St Vincent de Paul for over 18 years, and one of the places she has been able to serve was with the Covenant House, and it was through them that she came to be aware of the National Youth Homeless Awareness Month.

Vilardi challenges even those unable to give of their time, talents, or treasure to “be grateful for our families and show that gratitude and love back to them.” and “remember that there are many who would love to be in our shoes.”