Teens in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica’s Keystone Club will sleep-out next weekend to raise awareness about the city’s homeless.
About 150 teens aged from 13 to 18 are expected to participate in the rain-or-shine event that aims at educating teens and the community about the issue of homelessness and raise funds and donation items to aid the local homeless. Participating youth will sleep outside on the Club’s fenced in black top along with adult staff.
Each teen will represent nearly five homeless people. According to the City of Santa Monica, in 2015 the number of homeless men, woman and children in Santa Monica was 738.
According to the organizers, teens will hear from guest speakers including representatives from the Santa Monica Police Department, Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) and St. Joseph Center. They will also participate in team building, watch movies that feature issues on homelessness, and more.
Participants are asked to wear warm clothing and outerwear and to bring a sleeping bag, yoga mat or padded mat and a warm blanket.
It’s also requested that teens bring a $5 donation and items for the homeless including outerwear (beanies, gloves, scarves), new or unopened toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, razors, shaving cream, soap, and feminine hygiene products. Donations will be given to OPCC.
According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the total number of homeless people in Los Angeles County reached 44,359 in 2015, including thousands of children.
“Many do not receive the help they need to break the cycle of homelessness,” said Tim Blaylock, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica. “Homeless kids have high rates of acute and chronic health problems, and the constant barrage of stress and traumatic experience has profound effects on their development and ability to learn. We are proud of our Keystone teens helping to bring this issue to light through this overnight experience.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica serves many homeless children, and works to break the cycle of homelessness. No child is turned away from the Club for lack of ability to pay the $20 membership fee. Members are provided resources and mentors to help them succeed in school and in life. Those who are in need of housing are connected with services to help with sustainable housing and self-sufficiency.
The safe overnight sleep-out will take place on Saturday January 22 at 6 pm until 8 am on January 23. The Clubhouse is located at 1238 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica.
For more information, visit www.smbgc.org.