LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — While we are all urged to continue to stay home for Nevada, not everyone has a home to go to. Youth homelessness was already a big problem plaguing Southern Nevada, and COVID-19 has only made it harder to help.
"Nevada has the highest rate of homeless youth in the country. The entire world is closing in word on these youth right now," said Arash Ghafoori, executive director of Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth. He worries homelessness will only become more widespread because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is an especially difficult time, as youth are trying to navigate what to do and where to go to feel safe, especially when everyone is being encouraged to social distance. A lot of our youth will congregate in libraries or fast food places, many other places that are just not available," said Ghafoori.
But thanks to N.P.H.Y., there is hope and help.
"We are a 24-hour organization that never stops working to make sure you can get off the street safely and never have to return to the streets," said Ghafoori.
But at a time when fewer volunteers are able to help on the front lines, N.P.H.Y. needs your help saving kids from the streets, and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer virtually.
First, if you've got good advice to give, writing an e-note of encouragement can be a big boost for a teen and it takes as little as ten minutes. You can write an e-note for an at-risk teen by clicking this link.
"Right now, it’s especially important that [homeless teens] feel reminded that they are not forgotten about, that they are cared for. Something really important to us is to dispel the myth to young people that all adults are abusers or negative or don’t care about them," said Ghafoori.
If you've got a special skill or creative craft, that's even better because how-to hobby boxes can be the outlet kids need to succeed. For more information and ideas on how to make a how-to hobby box, click this link.
"For young people to have safe and fun activities where hopefully they can pick up a hobby or a skill set, whether it be DJ’ing or whittling a piece of wood, whatever it may be, the sky's the limit because our youth are not one-size-fits-all. They can be anyone and anything," said Ghafoori.
Ghafoori adds, the need for sunshine and sanitation kits is greater than ever. For more information on how to make a sunshine or sanitation kit, click this link.
"We are doling out more food and resources, right now, than we have an a while, so all the support we can get is appreciated," said Ghafoori.
Those are just a few of the virtual volunteer opportunities at the nevada partnership for homeless youth. For more ideas on how to safely give back to our at-risk youth, click this link.