National Runaway Prevention Month: Ten Years of 'Making the Connection'

Each year, thousands of U.S. youth run away from home, are asked to leave their homes, and / or become homeless for a variety of reasons leaving many young people without a safe place to stay. They sleep on the streets, in cars or on their friends’ couches. Through its Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs, the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) funds initiatives that serve and protect these young people. The National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth offers many resources for organizations that serve runaway and homeless youth in emergency shelters and longer-term residential programs as well as through street outreach.

In order to bring awareness, for the last ten years, the FYSB, the National Runaway Switchboard (NRS), along with a range of national and local organizations, have marked November as National Runaway Prevention Month.  Each year, FYSB, NRS, and their partners spend the month raising awareness about the issues facing runaway youth and educating the public about the role they can play in preventing youth from running. 

This year, the NRS has many activities planned – including a webcast highlighting a new research study, distribution of hundreds of green light bulbs in Chicago, and a day that harnesses the power of social media. Here are some dates to put on your calendar:

October 1st – October 31st: Prepare your friends and followers for the NRPM Social Media Day of Action:

  • Remind your Facebook friends and followers that November is National Runaway Prevention Month and link to the NRS website.
  • Get your green socks ready! Ask your friends and followers to purchase a pair of green socks so they can wear them on November 1.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: NRPM Social Media Day of Action

  • It's green sock day! Wear green socks to raise awareness of runaway and homeless youth!
    • Upload a picture of you and your agency wearing green socks to Facebook and tag NRS in the photo.
    • Tweet your green sock photos and include NRS' twitter handle - @1800RUNAWAY - in the post.
  • Watch our webinar on the effects of running away. This live webcast will discuss The Runaway Youth Longitudinal Study, which spanned over 15 years and examined the characteristics of youth who run away from home and the long term impact running away has on how young people will do as adults. During the webcast, viewers will be able to submit questions for answer by the expert panel holding the webcast. The event broadcasts LIVE at 1:30 ET/12:30 CT. If you have questions for our panel, you can tweet them to us with the hashtag #NRPM2011.
  • On Twitter, include hashtag #NRPM2011 for all tweets.

Throughout the month of November: Green Light Project

  • Americans can show support of runaway and at-risk youth by shining a green light on their front porches. This year, Wrigley Field in Chicago is getting involved and promoting 1-800-RUNAWAY and on its marquee on Nov. 2nd. NRS Street Team members will distribute 800 green light bulbs and 1,000 green socks in the Wrigleyville neighborhood and on the Green Line train in Chicago.

Any day in November you choose
NRS encourages its supporters to get a group of staff at work or classmates at school to purchase green socks and designate a day in November as Green Sock Day. Participants can take a group photo and send it to NRS via email, Facebook tag, or Tweet.

For More information, please visit:

National Runaway Switchboard to find out more about National Runaway Prevention Month and how to get involved.

Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Centers