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The Invisible Youth

I reviewed our clearinghouse outreach site “The Invisible Youth” recently and discovered that Russell, Founder and Creator of The Invisible Youth, in his infinite wisdom, has created a place of help for youths to find answers. Why?

He was a homeless youth, abandoned by his parents, and the system punished him for his ‘crime’. He then became the very criminal they formed and deprived him into being. In the forty-four years that he was incarcerated, he discovered why he survived the cruel irony of his childhood. He survived to stop homeless youths from becoming the ‘feeder’ for the all too profitable business of the prison systems.

Ninety percent of those placed in our Juvenile Justice Systems come from the Child Protection Systems. Ninety percent of those juveniles become the adults who populate our Criminal Justice Systems in prisons. Child Protection Services and Child Welfare obviously are not protecting our children. And though they are a large part of that inefficiency, so are we as a community. No matter what our excuses are, we take no notice of a child that is being abused. We don’t want to get involved or if we decide to make that call, we are not taken seriously, or worse; the child is placed into the system and there they stay.

They are institutionalized and abused by the system. No love or compassion are they offered. Nor do they ask for it. Instead they learn that there is no power in being a child. Some never make it out of the hell we put them through. Some only make it to the larger, more overwhelming criminal element of prison.

I have to ask myself and now ask you; how difficult is it to take compassion on a homeless or abused child and offer them a meal, a kind word, a warm and safe place to sleep? Or offer a listening ear and an empathic response to their cry for help? How difficult is it to offer their single parent a break for the night or a chance to rest between work and raising their family? How can we turn away and pretend they just do not exist?

How can we allow our neighbors and friends to starve and go without heat in the winter, when we know they are laid off or are out of work and have no resources to take care of their family? How can we do not one damn thing, when we listen to a man verbally and physically abuse his wife, night after night, and not offer her and her children a safe haven or give her help when she asks? How can we look at ourselves in the mirror or sleep at night when we know that we are abusing these people, these children, just as much as the system and the abuser, by not taking any action or speaking out to stop it from happening?

What is it going to take to feel their pain, to release them from shame and total despair before we help them? What if it were you and your family? Don’t tell me it will never happen to you, for it can and will.

Open your heart and feel the beat of their empty drum. Wake up and see with your eyes. Listen to their spirit as it screams into the night, instead of turning your ears deaf to their agony. Look into their soul and offer a hand up and give help to those who need us most. Love them unconditionally. They are your brothers, your sisters, your siblings, your children, your parents. Give them Hope!

Russell along with the volunteers at “The Invisible Youth” are giving them hope one child, one youth at a time. He sees himself in their eyes and lives. These invisible youths can become whole again and be adults that have goals and interests and dreams. And maybe even families of their own that they teach and raise with unconditional love.

Sentencing them for the ‘CRIME’ of being abused, homeless and alone is why they become the very thing you and I teach them to be and then judge them with fear as something to be despised in the same closed hearts that created them. Put an end to our contempt and abuse for our own creations. Help them while they still have a chance.

They are the Invisible Youth.

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