November is National Runaway Prevention Month, and Sojourners, a nonprofit youth development organization serving several southeast Ohio counties, is joining organizations across the country in the fight against youth homelessness.
Sojourners will join the effort by taking part in the Green Light Project, which is the symbol for National Runaway Prevention Month. The organization will sponsor a number of activities in Athens, Jackson, Ross, and Vinton counties.
"The numbers around runaway and homeless youth are really daunting," Shelly Horvath, Sojourners director of communication, said in a news release. "For instance, 2.8 million teens run away from home each year, and 32,953 children were homeless in Ohio last year."
"Exposing the Numbers" exhibits will be placed in county schools, government offices, and other community locations, as part of the activities. The exhibits are made up of cardboard boxes painted with green, black and white statistics about runaway and homeless youth.
In Athens County, Exposing the Numbers exhibits will be placed through November in Alexander High School, Trimble High School, the Athens/Meigs Educational Service Center and other community spaces.
On Thursday, Nov. 1 (today), Sojourners staff will take part in a national social media day of action, using social media to encourage their friends and acquaintances to share information about runaway and homeless youth with others.
Every Thursday through November Sojourners staff are encouraging people to wear green socks.
This week green light bulbs will be passed out in Athens, Chillicothe, Jackson and McArthur so homeowners can put them in their porch lights to show support.
"We will also be hosting an awareness walk in each county to show our support for homelessness youth," Horvath said in the release.
She said the Athens walk is 6:30 p.m. next Monday, Nov. 5, starting and ending at the Athens County Courthouse. Walkers are encouraged to bring shelf-stable food to the walk to help provide Thanksgiving meals for local families.
National Runaway Prevention Month is co-sponsored each year by the National Runaway Switchboard and the National Network for Youth, according to the news release. The goals of the month, the release said, are to raise awareness about the issues that runaways and homeless youth face, and educate the public about solutions preventing youth from running away from home. The theme for 2012 is "Numbers Tell the Story."
For more information about Sojourners' Green Light Project activities visit www.sojournerscare.net.