Last Sunday about 70 corporate executives and Minneapolis leaders and slept outside near the 35W ramp to raise funds for YouthLink, a local organization who provides services to homeless youth ages 16-23.

I had the privilege to join this group and I had no idea what I was going to experience when I arrived. In the end, I cannot tell you how much my heart was moved by these young people who for whatever reason fell into homelessness and wanted so bad to get out.

Their stories of hope were filled with their desire to learn and educate themselves, the desire to be financially sustainable and the desire to be a life contributor by encouraging other homeless youth and telling their story.

Below are tweets that were captured during a panel of young adults who used YouthLink’s services and found a way out of homelessness.  Their words give a perspective that most of us just will never understand fully because we haven’t lived in their shoes.

@Becca_Morris Tweet: #NOHSleep you're waiting for someonw to hand you a ladder so you can get out, but no one ever comes. #youth #homelessness @YouthLinkMN Tweet: The hardest part of being homeless is waking up and knowing you are in that situation. #NOHsleep @MarionGreene Tweet: Youth describes being homeless since age 16. Now he's 23 and aging out of youth services. Scared of what's next. #NOHsleep @YouthLinkMN @ReilingDavid Tweet: Direct from homeless kids: the hardest part of being homeless is? 'Hopelessness' 'Being Scared' 'Self Doubt'

 

As a mom I can’t even imagine these children managing their way through the system and finding their way to a safe, secure and warm bed.  According to YouthLink, they’ve seen a 63% increase in the number of young people receiving case management services since 2012.

If this makes your heart ache like it does mine, spread the word about this challenge that’s in our backyard.  Make a contribution if you can. Volunteer your time. Or donate some household items. You can contact YouthLink at 612.252.1200 or email them at youthlink@youthlinkmn.org.