The executive director of the National Runaway Safeline answers our questions about "Why They Run: An In-depth Look at America’s Runaway Youth."
Time: 2:44 | Size: 1.6 MB | Transcript
John Lingan: In May, the National Runaway Switchboard released "Why They Run,” a look at the motivations and behaviors of runaway and homeless youth in Chicago and Los Angeles. NRS hopes that by painting a picture of how and why young people end up on the streets or in shelters, the report will help organizations better understand how to serve runaway and homeless youth. I'm John Lingan, a writer for the National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth. And I spoke with Maureen Blaha, NRS' Executive Director about the report's findings and implications.
John Lingan: Of all the findings that came about from this report, what did you find to be the most surprising? And what did you find to be the least surprising?
Maureen Blaha: The most surprising was that when youth wanted to seek help, the number one -- astounding number one -- way that they would do that would be by talking to somebody, either over the phone or face-to-face. And that is despite the extensive use of text messaging and other technology ways to connect with people, that again overwhelmingly when kids wanted to look for help what they really wanted was to talk to somebody. I guess the thing that didn't surprise me was again when they talked about their reasons for running was related primarily to family dynamics.
John Lingan: So what do you think is the key lesson for youth workers from this "Why They Run" report?
Maureen Blaha: For us at the National Runway Switchboard, we recognize that this is a beginning point. That it's an opportunity for all of us to continue to have the dialogue about runaway youth, to help to get this issue out of the shadows and talk more about it. It also is an opportunity for all of us who serve this population to hear directly from youth what it is that we can do to better connect with them? And I think that that has implications for all of us working with this population.
John Lingan: The National Runaway Switchboard is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can download "Why They Run" from the switchboard's website, www.nrscrisisline.org/media/whytheyrun.
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