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YMCA's Solidarity Journey to raise awareness on youth homelessness

YMCA Solidarity Journey
Posted at 8:02 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 23:02:17-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — November is National Runaway and Homeless Youth Prevention month.

On any given night, around 1500 youth are experiencing homelessness in San Diego.

To raise awareness, staff members from the local YMCA embarked on their first-ever solidarity journey shedding light on what they call an invisible issue.

"Our youth is sort of suffering in silence and that's what we're looking to end," David Baker, the Youth Systems Director for YMCA San Diego, said.

Baker and Justin Lipford began the 3-day walking journey from Oceanside to San Ysidro Monday.

Along the way, they met with community leaders to talk about challenges unsheltered youth face and ways to be a part of the solutions.

"We've had nothing but great people who were learning the issue, getting inspired and wanting to help," Lipford, Director of Community Engagement for YMCA San Diego, said.

The men say part of that help is through funding YMCA programs providing homeless youth with housing, higher education, and other services.

"We know how to contain it. We have the systems. We just need that little extra support from the community," Baker said.

For the last leg of the journey, the pair walked through downtown San Deigo handing out wellness kits Wednesday.

They then hopped on the trolley to Chula Vista to speak with Mayor Mary Salas about the importance of access to transportation for youth and families before reaching their final destination at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"We have proven services, but we need funding for these services and I believe in my heart they are investors out there that are looking to have a deep impact, innovative impact, and insight into what we do," Lipford said.

To learn more about the organization's mission, click here.