National Runaway Prevention Month

In honor of National Runaway Prevention Month, local nonprofit Payne County Youth Services held a candlelight vigil on the steps of City Hall.

In honor of National Runaway Prevention Month, local nonprofit Payne County Youth Services held a candlelight vigil on the steps of City Hall.

The social awareness initiative, which took place on Thursday, was intended to draw the community’s attention to the homeless youth crisis.

PCYS executive director Janet Fultz said childhood homelessness is absent in people’s minds because it’s not as visible as it is in adults.

“We want to advocate for legislation that protects our kiddos,” Fultz said. “We need more prevention services and counseling services to help them understand they don’t need to run away.”

A Stillwater girl recently ran away to Florida and was returned home. She was just one of the 1.6 to 2.8 million young runaways reported in the United States each year.

“The statistics are overwhelming, and the need is great,” Fultz said. “What matters is how we translate that into hope, whether it’s through services like our organization and many others across the state. Hope is a wonderful thing, and it needs to be translated into action.”

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