I walk in shadows searching for light,
Cold and alone, no comfort in sight.
Hoping and praying for someone who’ll care,
Always moving and goin’ nowhere.
As many of you know, one of the characters in my previous story, Connected, was a boy named Tommy. In the story, he runs away from home at the age of 14 and ends up on the streets of Washington, D.C. Tommy was a survivor and he did survive. But he paid a heavy price for all the time he spent on the streets.
And we know not all of those who run away and end up on the streets survive in any event.
Today, in the United States and elsewhere around the globe, there are many boys and girls, including many LGBT boys and girls, who have run away from home for lots of reasons, including some too horrific to mention here. These boys and girls can be found anywhere, but typically end up living in the shadows, hidden, out of sight and out of mind as well all too often.
Christmas is a time of year when people like to sit back and be happy, to make merry, to have a good time and to give gifts. But for those boys and girls living on the streets this holiday season, there won’t be any gifts. Instead, they’ll be out there in the cold every day, every night, struggling just to survive.
They need help.
They need you.
And I’m asking you to take a moment out of your holiday schedule to get involved and make a difference.
With Apologies Mr. Dickens is my holiday gift to you and I’m happy to provide it free of charge. But I’m asking you to do something right now to help some of those boys and girls.
There are lots of way you can help, of course. The easiest is by making a donation to an organization that works with runaways. There are a lot of them, including The Trevor Project, the Ali Forney Center, the True Colors Fund, and StandUp For Kids, which has programs operating in many different cities here in the United States.
Not close enough to you? Not familiar with them? Not sure where to start?
Here in the United States just go to a site like Charity Navigator or GLBT Near Me and key in LGBT, homeless, student, or youth as keywords. You should be able to find some organization near you worth helping. Once you have, you can often contribute anonymously through an organization like the Network for Good if you want to avoid being pestered in the future.
Many of you live in other countries, of course, but my guess is the problem exists in your country as well. And while I may not know the specific charities that do this kind of work in your country that are worth supporting, I’m sure you can identify some that are worthy and I would be happy to list them here if you send me a link and can vouch for them.
Money is important, of course, but please also think about giving something at least as precious as money. Think about giving the gift of yourself; because whether you believe it or not, you’re someone important, someone beautiful, and someone who can make a difference.
Take some of that time you have on your hands and volunteer to help. What better time of the year to do it?
Don’t put it off for another day. Do it right now. Don’t do it for me. Do it for yourself.
Somehow, some way, everyone can make a difference if they want to. And I guarantee your holidays will be happier if you do.
So don’t just read the words.
Do it now. Give something back.
Show the love! Get involved! Make a difference!