Support Systems for Rural Homeless Youth (SSRHY) is a 5-year, 6-state collaborative demonstration funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) with the Children’s Bureau (CB) as a supporting partner. SSRHY is aimed at improving adult outcomes for rural youth who are approaching young adulthood and independence but who have few or no connections to a supportive family or community resources. This includes runaway and homeless youth and youth transitioning out of foster care.
Ten such youth were among the 36 representatives from the Demonstration sites, who attended the 2- day SSRHY Annual Meeting in Chicago last August. As part of their conference experience, they were asked to work as a group in order to plan and present a conference session that would bring their voices to the Conference. The youth met each other and their facilitator for the first time over a FYSB/CB-sponsored ice cream social on the evening of their arrival in Chicago. And with a total of only four hours of preparation time spread over two sessions, the young people conducted the final session of the Annual Meeting and presided over what the meeting evaluations showed as the highest rated session of the Conference.
The Youth Session featured individual presentations where each youth shared his/her personal story and then gave some insights into how they viewed the challenge of SSRHY in the context of their lives and the local communities in which they live. Among the many lessons that emerged were the following:
These lessons were well-received by the adult attendees and FYSB resolved to continue its practice of providing opportunities for youth voice in all of its meetings and conferences.
Subscribe to our newsletter for information on funding, events, publications, and more.
Map My Community is a tool designed specifically to assist you in locating resources in your community to help you build and strengthen your youth program. Get ideas for new partnerships, identify gaps in your community, and learn about resources to avoid duplication of effort.
FindYouthInfo.gov is the U.S. government Web site that helps you create, maintain, and strengthen effective youth programs. Included are youth facts, funding information, and tools to help you assess community assets, generate maps of local and federal resources, search for evidence-based youth programs, and keep up-to-date on the latest, youth-related news.