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sleeping under the stars

20 October, 2008

I will be sleeping outside in November in Iowa. For those of you not from here, the average temperature in Iowa for the month of November is 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Even so as this year’s motto says, I will be sleeping under the stars so kids can reach for them. I will be participating in the 2008 Reggie’s Sleepout, and I need your help.

If you’re not familiar with Reggie’s story, he was a young man who aged out of the foster care system here in Iowa in 2001. Within three and a half months he died when he jumped into the Des Moines River. He was an endearing young man, but suffered from a number of problems including hallucinations and depression. After aging out of the system, he bounced from one homeless youth shelter to another but couldn’t make it work.

Since then, Youth and Shelter Services (the parent of Iowa Homeless Youth Center) has led the effort to develop the Iowa Aftercare Services Network to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again. The IASN provides services to those aging out of foster care, and includes the Preparation for Adult Living program.

When I interned at the youth shelter last year, it became apparent to me that these kids need our help. Once they age out of the system, there isn’t much in place to help them lead positive lives and they are often lost to lives of crime, or in Reggie’s case, to suicide. Sadly, Reggie is merely one example of a much more widespread problem.

Reggie’s Sleepout is an event where the community comes together to raise both money and awareness of the problem of youth homelessness. We sleep outside at Drake Stadium and collect donations to help the cause. My fundraising goal is $200, and I’m almost half way there. Please, click here and contribute – help me in my efforts to support Iowa Homeless Youth Centers. Every little bit helps – even if it’s only a few dollars.

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