Teens aged 13-18 geared up in their warmest clothes and with little more than a mat or sleeping bag gathered in Santa Monica to brave the elements and bring home the stark reality that faces the homeless living in their town. On the night of January 22nd, the youth of the BGCA Keystone Club of Santa Monica organized the project that attracted almost 150 fellow teens who, in addition to their sleeping bags, brought money and toiletries to donate to the Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC). Throughout the cold night, representatives from the Santa Monica Police Department, OPCC and St. Joseph Center showed movies and spoke to the crowd about the terrible issues that faced over 725 homeless citizens in Santa Monica alone.
“Many do not receive the help they need to break the cycle of homelessness,” said Tim Blaylock, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica. “Homeless kids have high rates of acute and chronic health problems, and the constant barrage of stress and traumatic experience has profound effects on their development and ability to learn. We are proud of our Keystone teens helping to bring this issue to light through this overnight experience.”
While the teens, along with the adult staff and guest speakers, they knew they were safe in the fenced-in blacktop of their club, something the homeless often don’t feel. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica reaches out to many homeless children, and works to break the cycle of homelessness. No child is turned away.
Photo Courtesy of vibewirechangemedia.com