While most students are busy with mid-term grades, attending formal dances and football games, a staggering number of young people aren’t sure where their next meal will come from or where they’ll sleep tonight.
In HUD's 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, 36,907 unaccompanied youth were homeless on a single night in 2015.
In Arizona, there are over 4,000 homeless youth ages 12 to 19, according to Homeless Youth Connection.
Since its inception in 2010, Homeless Youth Connection has provided needs for over 900 young people whose main goal is to finish high school in a safe environment. HYC assists 12 school districts and is currently helping over 400 teens in the West Valley.
For Michael, this help couldn’t have come at a better time.
“At first I thought I could deal with it be myself, but after a while they (HYC) were there to help me so I started accepting more and more help,” he said.
The organization helps kids aged 13 to 19 who attend high school in districts served by HYC.
“We help them plan for the future. We know it’s not enough to graduate. We need to set them up for what they’re going to do after graduation -- college, vocational training or military training -- and our mentors help with that,” said Dawn Bogart, Executive Director of Homeless Youth Connection.
If you’d like to give a monetary donation, Homeless Youth Connection is a charity that qualifies for the Arizona Tax Credit. Individuals can donate up to $400 and couples can donate up to $800.
HYC also accepts in-kind donations: clothing, shoes, school supplies and hygiene products as well as gift cards to helps teens during school breaks.
Click here if you'd like to volunteer and get involved with HYC.