This website is not being maintained and will be discontinued in November 2017. For Runaway and Homeless Youth information, content can be used for informational purposes or you can contact the National Clearinghouse for Homeless Youth and Families at 301-828-1324. For Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention information, visit the Teen Pregnancy Exchange. For Family Violence Prevention and Services information, visit the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
TheNational Runaway Safelineserves as the Family and Youth Services Bureau's federally mandatednational 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 Kyle,* a youth who called the hotline for help as he ran down the street.
After less than a year volunteering as an NRS frontline team member, Ken has noticed a pattern talking to runaway youth.
“In a lot of these cases, their best friend has moved away in the last year. It’s not an unusual conversation to have.”
That was the case when 14-year-old Kyle* dialed 1-800-RUNAWAY on a late Sunday night, the number a concerned school counselor had given him a few weeks previous after he expressed he might be going through a depression. That night, after messing up in a basketball game, Kyle’s older brother humiliated him during a nasty argument. For the teenager–a student already stressed about doing unusually poorly in school, missing his friend, and not being able to rely on his usual family confidante–being called “worthless” was the last straw.
“I’ve got Kyle on the other end, and he is literally breathless,” said Ken. “Sobbing, right? And he just says, ‘I’m running away, and I need help.” The teenager was running down a Santa Fe street and trying to hitchhike out of town with no destination in mind.