November 19, 2014

Pretending to be Homeless for a Night. {Video}


I had a hard time believing that there are up to 200 homeless teens on the streets of Boulder on any given night.

Not in perfect little Boulder!

It’s a sad reality, and a very serious problem facing our community and the country. The numbers are even scarier when you look bigger, in Colorado there are 1700 homeless teens and 1.6 million across the U.S.

This has to end. It’s hard enough being a teenager but a homeless teenager. I can’t even imagine.

Enter Attention Homes, the only youth shelter in Boulder County. It’s not only a shelter providing food and a warm bed but they have counselors helping teens get jobs, finish high school and beyond.

For the past two years, Attention Homes has staged a “Sleep Out” fundraiser.

Businesses leaders, city council members, high school students and concerned citizens grab a piece of cardboard and sleep outside for a night.

It may sound a bit silly but the amount of money raised has been phenomenal. 40K the first year, 80K last year and well over 130K this year.

Apart from the money, which is very important, the conversations that have been sparked have been vital in raising awareness on the issue.

This year the temperature was brutally cold and I didn’t expect many people to actually sleep outside but to my surprise, abut 80 people managed to brave the cold (about 8 degrees). I think it’s important to suffer and be uncomfortable. It’s not supposed to be easy. We chose to sleep outside, but many people don’t have that choice.

If you want to learn more about how you can help, go to Attention Homes.org


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Author: Ryan Van Duzer

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: courtesy of the author

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Ryan Van Duzer

Ryan Van Duzer is a proud Boulder native, loves sleeping under the stars, and is happiest on a bike. He works as a video journalist and TV host, appearing on Discovery Channel’s Out Of the Wild and hosting various series for TravelChannel.com. He also works as a bicycle advocate for People for Bikes and loves inspiring people to get out and ride. If you’re ever in Boulder, you can probably find Ryan at the nearest burrito joint. To see Ryan’s videos from around the world, visit his Youtube Page.