From the National Runaway Safeline: Ahmed’s Story

A young man sits with his head cradled on his knees.

The National Runaway Safeline serves as the Family and Youth Services Bureau's federally mandated national communication system for runaway and homeless youth. The Chicago organization offers a crisis hotline and online services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to youth at risk of running away, those who have run away or are homeless, and their families. Runaway Reality, a regular feature on the National Runaway Safeline's blog, highlights the stories of young people and families who contact the hotline. This recent installment is about Ahmed*, an 18-year-old who contacted NRS using their online chat service. Here's an excerpt:

Ahmed was having a difficult night. Earlier that day, his grandma had talked to him about coming home late from school. Ahmed wasn’t having it and things quickly escalated. His grandma accused Ahmed of not caring about the family or his future. Ahmed had gone outside and didn’t come home for a few hours. 

“I just needed to get away,” he wrote. “Things were getting ugly and I didn’t want to hear it again.”

Ahmed connected to Blake, the frontline team member in our crisis call and online connection center, because he wanted to vent. Blake made sure to give Ahmed space to share everything he was feeling. This kind of fight happened all the time and Ahmed was exhausted. His grandma just couldn’t get over that Ahmed wasn’t a child anymore – the pressure was getting more overwhelming by the day.

“I don’t even know when it started, but things just have gotten so bad – I just want to leave. How can she treat me like this? I mean, I don’t come home after school because I don’t want to see her.”

Read the rest of Ahmed’s story.

*Names have been changed to respect anonymity

More About the National Runaway Safeline

Watch Executive Director Maureen Blaha reflect on 40 years of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.

Read our interview about the effectiveness of Home Free, a program led by NRS with support from Greyhound Lines.

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