Studio 12 Shows the Human Side of Homeless Youth
Release Date: 07/08/09
Author: KD Adams
Studio 12 Shows the Human Side of Homeless Youth;
Program Available Online
DENVER – June 8, 2009 – More than 1,000 homeless young adults and teens ages 18-24 crowd the busy streets of Denver every night. They struggle for water, food, shelter and pray for a tiny ray of hope that will get them through the fight.
A recent edition of KBDI-Channel 12’s Studio 12 took a closer look into the lives of the homeless as well as four individuals who provide the helping hand these young adults need in order to become safe and secure. The program is available online via free video on demand at www.KBDI.org.
The program discusses the life of a homeless teen and young adult and the resources available for those in need. Callers to the program also spoke about the ways support programs have made a difference in their lives.
Marketing and media manager of Urban Peak, Robert Ham, has seen many young people come through the organization’s doors with mental, physical and sexual abuse weighing on their shoulders. A support system is the main aspect of Urban Peak, providing resources and the programs that will develop the youth population into mature adults, Ham said.
While communication from members and volunteers for Urban Peak can help to provide strength for homeless youth, poetry is another personal outreach program.
Arts from Ashes, founded five years ago, is a program that allows young adults to express their feelings through poetry. Most of the poems over the past few years have been about the young adults’ and teens’ parents who are desperately in need and hinder their children’s route for success, said Catherine O’Neill Thorn, executive director.
“Victimization is negative and it is not used in the poetry. Power and self determination are positive words that are used,” said Thorn.
Many success stories come from those who have been down the wrong path in life but have changed the way they live and have taken a different route. These individuals now find it easy to counsel others and with their background and personal life stories, can help change the lives of those around them.
As a previous homeless youth who used Urban Peak as a resource, Shehila Rae Stephens is now a resource case manager of an outreach program called Volunteers of America. When she was 15 and on the lower end of the homeless teen spectrum, Stephens was verbally abused and without sleep. Urban Peak provided shelter and a bed to sleep in, as well as the support for her to continue her schooling and work. Now as an advocate for the safety young homeless people, Stephens takes her mother’s advice.
“No matter what people say, don’t let them tell you that you can’t have something because you aren’t smart enough,” Stephens said.
Andrew McClure, a previous homeless youth who also used Urban Peak as a resource, is now the youth outreach counselor of Urban Peak. McClure spends the majority of his time in downtown Denver finding homeless youth and giving them the resources needed.
With thousands of homeless people in Denver, one in three is under the age of 18. As the economy continues to flat line, the number of homeless youth has increased by 13 percent. However, with the right direction and support, these youth can become outreach program directors themselves and give the boost the homeless need.
KBDI has set itself apart with carriage of an unparalleled amount of local public affairs programming. KBDI "community voice" programming engages viewers in community-based discussions of state, national and global issues. KBDI delivers its flagship station with a strong mix of local, national and international programming (DT 12.1); The Documentary Channel, featuring the works of independent filmmakers (DT 12.2); and MHz Worldview (DT 12.3), a channel providing diverse cultural perspectives for a globally minded audience.
K D Adams, Public Relations Intern
Colorado Public Television
Marcia Simmons, Marketing Director
303-991-5020 (direct); 303-489-4012 (cell)
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