I was introduced to Urban Peak's work fighting youth homelessness in Denver during Invisible People's 2nd national road trip. To be honest, it was a life-changing moment for me. Thanks to Urban Peak allowing me to tag along for a few days, I learned about labor trafficking of homeless youth in America. Here is one story from that 2010 visit of Jeremy and Alicia, two youth I met during that visit who has been stranded by a sales crew. I also learned about domestic sex trafficking of homeless youth, which really opened my eyes and heart to a horrible crisis that's right here in America and rarely even talked about.
This week I revisited Urban Peak and I was so very happy to see the growth of their facility and programs. Their drop in center was awesome before, but the new improvements are very noticeable. What stuck out the most, to me, was that the top floor had been transformed into an education and learning center. I love walking through seeing homeless youth working to better their lives through education.
Each stop on this road trip I am trying to pick out a topic that relates to fighting youth homelessness and is different than what has already been highlighted. In the following video, Charlie Annerino, employment services specialist at Urban Peak, speaks about the joys and challenges of using employment and education to fight youth homelessness.
I have a lot of respect for social service workers like Charlie who work with broken youth. Teenagers are hard as is, now add teenagers who have grown up on the streets and have probably experienced more trauma than most adults see in a lifetime. Although challenging, helping kids learn life skills through employment and education is very important. If you're near Denver please support Urban Peak, and anywhere else please support your local services fighting youth homelessness.
This Invisible People road trip is made possible by Sevenly and Virgin Mobile USA, who are partnering to end youth homelessness through Virgin Mobile USA's initiative, RE*Generation. For more information please click here.