Harriet Boorhem: Youth Today’s Online Diarist

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Entry 11: Monday Sucks!

So far, Monday sucks. I just had to tell my Parents with Promise staff that Congress, in all its great wisdom, is TOTALLY shutting down the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs, and that because of that, they will have no jobs as of August 31. What a way to start the week.

How do I begin to say how apoplectic I am over this? These are great employees. They love their program, their clients, each other. They have the teamwork that really makes a program hum.  They enjoy their jobs, love coming up with new ideas for group, new incentives to help their young parents succeed, new ways to have fun with the program. 

But now, just like that, it all ends. 

What is it with legislatures that they won’t recognize the importance, efficacy, and effectiveness of prevention programs? Why are they so much more willing to pay for jails, youth detention centers, and other “after-the-fact” programs when prevention programs are so much cheaper and really do PREVENT young people from ending up in the “after-the-fact” programs???

It is days like this that I hate my job. I hate losing good people. I hate not having enough money to keep the program running without government funding. I hate it that homeless, runaway, and at-risk teens are totally OFF THE RADAR of those folks and entities that could really make a difference in funding programs for them. 

I have been in this business over 15 years, and I have yet to see the issue of runaway and homeless teens reach the level of importance in societal woes as, say, “family” violence (by the way, families do not commit violence—that has always irked me).

Even with the incredible advocacy of such groups as the National Network for Youth, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Healthy Teen Network, and in Texas, the Texas Network of Youth Services, the issue of homeless teens languishes in the shadows.

What is that about? Why do we continue to have this uphill battle to bring recognition and resources to our teens? Why is this country not outraged at the fact that there are children living on the street? Where is the rallying cry from our society to save these kids? Why are we more willing to help kids in foreign countries than in our OWN BACK YARD?

Can you tell I’m upset?  Can you tell I’m discouraged? 

And so, thus far, Monday sucks. 

Harriet Boorhem is the president of Promise House, which provides a multitude of services to homeless youth in the Dallas area, and Youth Today's first online diarist. Note: Harriet actually submitted this last Monday, May 16.