December 18 update: Just got a comment on this post with a great link to a place worth supporting. Take a look and do what you can; and then send me more links to places like this that could use our help and support.
The holiday season is upon us again and I hope yours will be happy indeed. There’s something special about this time of year for most of us, but it won’t be a holly jolly Christmas for everyone. For too many boys and girls living on the streets this holiday season, there won’t be any gifts or good cheer or time spent with family, friends and loved ones. Instead, they’ll be out in the cold every day and every night struggling just to survive.
The statistics on the kids I’m talking about vary a lot and there are good reasons for that so I won’t bore you with a lot of data. But a couple of things are certain. The number of boys and girls who are homeless is large indeed. They desperately need help and the help can only come from people like you. So I’m asking you to take a moment out of your busy holiday schedule this year to get involved and make a difference for some kids you know nothing about.
I’ve been making this appeal around this time of year ever since I started posting my stories online for free. It’s kind of passion for me for reasons I won’t go into, but I’ve had trouble rousing myself this year to ask for your help. Truth be told, I’ve never received a single e-mail from any of you telling me you’ve done something in response to these appeals. That’s pretty discouraging because I’m sure a lot of you are in a position to help if you want to.
I’m not criticizing you or trying to make you feel bad. I realize everyone has favorite charities and that’s fine. I thank you for whatever you do to help others in need. But most of you are gay after all; and I assume you know at some level that many of the boys and girls in the United States and around the globe who run away are also members of the LGBT community.
They run away or are homeless for many reasons, including parental rejection and others too horrific to mention here. They can be found everywhere, but usually end up living in the shadows; hidden, out of sight and usually out of mind as well. And I’m ashamed to say too many of us who are members of the same community are not doing enough to help them. What kind of a community turns its back on its own?
In the end, hope springs eternal so I’m back again this year with a list of organizations you could contribute to that are hard at work trying to make things better for kids in this country who have no one else to turn to. They include The Trevor Project, the Ali Forney Center, the Forty to None Project, and StandUp For Kids, which has programs operating in many different communities across the United States.
There are many others like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the GLBT National Help Center, and the National Runaway Safeline that are worthy of support as well. Not close enough to you? Not familiar with them? Not sure where to start?
Here in the United States you can go to a site like Charity Navigator or GLBT Near Me and enter homeless, student, youth, runaway, LGBT, or even your zip code as keywords. You’ll be sure 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 asked for additional donations in the future.
Many of you live abroad, of course, but my guess is the problem exists in your country as well; and while I may not know the specific charities in your country worth supporting, you do or can probably find out by asking around. I know I have readers in Canada and the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany, and many other countries around the globe.
Please help me out by posting a comment below with a link to a charity you would recommend that help young men and women in need. They don’t even have to service just LGBT youth. Not all runaway and homeless youth are gay, but they all need help. And you don’t even have to give me a name or an e-mail address to do this. You can remain completely anonymous if you wish and just provide a link to a web site. I’ll check them out and pass them along.
I don’t know. Given how little impact I seem to have with this appeal every year, maybe I’m doing something wrong. Maybe that nice looking young man up above doesn’t seem to be terribly needy. But if you click on his image, you’ll get taken to another picture, one of a real street boy who could definitely use your help. I hope you’ll take a real close look at him because it’s pretty heartbreaking when no one helps a boy like that.
Whatever you do, please don’t just read these words and quickly move on to something else. Show the love! Get involved! Make a difference!
And please do it now while the memory is still fresh.