From the National Runaway Safeline: Jack's Runaway Teen Story
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 installment is about Jack,* a 17-year-old caller initially kicked out of his home because of his sexual orientation.
Adolescence is already a difficult, confusing time, but it can be even harder for those youth and runaway teens grappling with their homosexuality, especially if their parents don’t approve of their sexual orientation. 17-year-old Jack was dealing with this exact issue when he called the National Runaway Safeline. He recently had been kicked out of his Little Rock home by his father after coming out as gay.
Jack was ready to return home after living on the streets, but was still unsure about his father’s feelings, which is where NRS frontline team member Joyce provided valuable assistance.
In order for Jack to qualify for NRS’ Home Free program, Joyce needed to contact his father and make sure that Jack had a healthy home to return to, and she was deeply moved by what she heard once she reconnected the two over the phone. Jack’s father had undergone a total change of heart since initially rejecting his son, realizing that his personal prejudice wasn’t worth the damage it was doing to his family.
*Names and details have been changed to respect anonymity.
More About the National Runaway Safeline