Monday, December 15, 2008

Bee Columnist Rutland Writes in Support of Homeless Teens and Wind Youth Services

Haunted by a recent story of a Sacramento teen who was "allegedly starved, beaten and held captive," Ginger Rutland wrote in her Bee column yesterday, "Homeless teenagers are all around, not just in headlines," about the hundreds of homeless teenagers adrift in our region and the activities of WIND Youth Services, a refuge for these teens "to get in out of the cold, get something to eat, a shower, clean clothes and – for a lucky 16, the number of beds in the WIND shelter – a safe place to sleep at night."

Rutland met four teens at The WIND Center on Dixieanne Ave, near Del Paso Blvd, learning their stories and how they are being aided by WIND. Two of the teens are recently homeless and are now attending Sacramento State. They've taken refuge at the facility shelter. Another, a 16 year old, has been homeless for years, has a father in prison and a brother who was shot and killed. She is now attending WIND's Twin Rivers charter school. The fourth teen has a parttime job as a hairdresser and counts on WIND for help with food, clothes and other essentials.

Rutland also met with Tasha Norris, the charity's associate executive director, who expressed frustration about how many people stereotype homeless kids as all bad. Most, Norris said, are ... victims of circumstances beyond their control. The older kids become "throwaways," on their own way before they are ready.

Rutland ended her piece with these words: "For those tired of the horror stories about abused kids and eager to do something for them, WIND is a place to start."

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