Attention Homes is an organization that provides service for homeless youth in the Boulder community. I have been a volunteering with them since I have been in middle school after my mom had introduced me to the fact of kids my age who did not have a bed to sleep in, roof over their head, or food on the table. She had made food every week for kids who were living in a residence home provided by Attention Homes.
At the age of 12 I participated in “Street Outreach” with my mom which is where we wake up early to make food to past out to homeless people on the streets near the Boulder Public Library. This changed my world. I think ever since we are little we have a slight if not large bias about homeless people. At least when I was little I was scared of homeless people. People would tell me to stay away from homeless people because they were “dangerous” but in reality, most of them are not. During my street outreach I learned that homeless people are the most grateful people you will ever meet. Every single person who I gave food to said “God bless you” or thanked me in another way from the bottom of their hearts. They weren’t what people called them. None of them took more than one of anything, no one was violent or mean and they just wanted to chat. Obviously not all homeless people are the kindest people but neither are we. In any group of people there are always going to be people who ruin how they as a whole are viewed but that shouldn’t be their entire representation.
Ever since the first time I did the Street Outreach I have been volunteering with Attention Homes, mainly in their executive office in preparation for their events as well as during the events for registration and etc. One of their largest events is the “Sleep Out for homeless youth” where people in the community come together to raise awareness for homeless youth by sleeping outside on the ground with a piece of cardboard and sleeping bag. Each person tries to raise $1000 through their community and then has the opportunity to experience what a homeless or at-risk youth may experience every day. I have slept outside for this event for the past 3 years and had the opportunity of doing it again this year. I helped out with registration and with whatever the staff needed throughout the night. My administrators from my high school were also participating and it was great to see the people in the community who were coming together to support this great cause. It gets pretty cold at night and it’s hard to imagine that over 170 youth sleep in Boulder alone sleep outside without a place to stay.
I think that it is important to raise awareness for homeless and at-risk youth not only in Boulder but all around the world. There are too many young people who don’t have a safe place to go home to. Every time I volunteer I feel so extremely grateful for the things that I have in my life and that I take for granted. I want to continue to volunteer with Attention Homes throughout college and raise awareness for homeless and at-risk youth in our community to help them have a better future. Here is a picture of me at the Sleep Out event last year (since I was too busy helping volunteering this year!):