I contemplated the importance of Home seen through the eyes of an escape driven traveller. I thought “If I have such a desire to leave home so often, what good is a home anyway? I wondered for myself, “is it simply the place I am constantly attempting to escape only to later long for my return?,” like a corrupt relationship. The constant race between the extremes of hate and love.
Our home owns our heart, and, in that, we feel an entitlement to wander. Growing up in a little tourist flocked, coastal town of St. Joseph, MI. I touched every trail, knew every road, every route to get to my favorite places. I had a route to get to them when I was in a hurry, others when I just wanted to crank up the music and enjoy the road.
We know our home like we know no other place because we are entitled to wander. Ironically, its what drives our escapes- we want something new, something challenging, something unknown. But when the novelty wears off on a place, you either long to return home, or you realize this new place is home. And it’s that intimate and passionate relationship that just keeps you wanting more.
Living here in Fairbanks, it’s been easy. I feel like I am living some where I actually belong. How you belong in one place and not the other, I guess you just know and get a certain feeling. I don’t long to return to St. Joe or long to return to Alabama (where I called home before I moved here); this is the place that comes to mind. It took a piece of my heart and I’ve begun to wander. I wander in the hills and on the roads when I plan my runs, I wander sometimes without a goal in mind, I wander into new hobbies/friends/activities, wander into new ideas, opinions, mindset’s driven by this new home of mine.
I suppose everyone has a different concept of what a home is supposed to be and is it an active or passive process to have a place you call home.
Fairbanks has been more of an active process for me only because this is the first time I feel active in a community and have a little more passion for the city as a whole. Friends are easily made, and I guess I just feel a little bit more understood
Just some things to think about.
And another thing to think about … what if you don’t have a home?
Just last weekend, I began Volunteering with FYA (Fairbanks Youth Advocates). Currently, we are only providing a Emergency overnight shelter for teens ages 12-21 that runs from 9PM-8AM. Every night, we have at least 3 Teens come in for food, a shower, a warm place to sleep and also a place where they can safely ask for help involving a variety of issues.
I guess I never really considered the fact that Teens could be considered “homeless.” I always assumed Child Service/Social Services would make sure they had some kind of home that they felt safe in. But the state of Alaska and probably a lot of other states only provide those services when a child is considered to be in “imminent danger” which legally seems to only cover that of which is an immediate threat of injury, emotional harm, sexual exploitation/abuse, neglect, or death. I understand the importance of setting rules/boundaries and the fact that people have rights under the constitution to prevent the government from just coming into a household and interfering. Funny thing is, if a child is escaping a home that really can’t be considered a home, and rather risking his/her life on the streets where, obviously here in -30 and lower temps, they are in clearly imminent danger and there’s a problem.
A few Statistics from the FYA Website:
- 173 local youth were officially reported as runaways in 2011.
- Of the 485 students that have been identified as experiencing homelessness during the 2011/12 school year, the Fairbanks school district reported 72 of them were unaccompanied minors.
- 130 homeless youth from Fairbanks sought emergency shelter at Covenant House in Anchorage during 2010.
But I guess that’s why we have Organizations like us. To fill in the gray area.
So the shelter just opened about a month and a half ago, and there are future promises of a 24 hour a day, House for kids called “The Door” with full-time “parents” an on-call doctor, counseling resources, etc.
I’ve already learned a ton from the kids I’ve met so far and I only hope I can give as much back as I receive. It just seems like if you don’t have a place to call home, how can you care about anything else but trying to fill that void?
Anyway, here’s a great video I watched during my Training and I think its a great video to help understand Teen homelessness and how it is actually an issue:
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/17831809 w=500&h=333]
Some Things I took out of it myself:
Teens become homeless mostly by:
Parent’s abandonment, A child feeling unsafe, Low wage lifestyle not making ends meet for a roof over their head, sexual prejudice/exploitation
And such a great thought “Just because you have a roof over your head doesn’t mean you have a home”
I think we all can agree.
Lastly, EVERYONE has dreams goals and ambitions. The problem is, some feel like victims prohibited from asking from help, others don’t realize they can ask for help, some don’t know who to ask or what to ask, and more feel hopeless.
All of this can be provided.
Also, a couple websites for further information on Child Services/Social Services Provisions when it comes to Removing a child from a household or being responsible for their well-being: