Utah students work with Volunteers of America to help homeless youth

Posted at 4:19 PM, Dec 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-06 18:19:20-05

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – Students at Cottonwood High School took to the stage in order to raise funds to help homeless youth.

The students put on a talent show assembly where students and others were be able to donate to the cause.

Students at the school pick a charity to help every year, and this year they paired up with the Volunteers of America’s Homeless Youth Resource Center. The funds raised will go to homeless youth between the ages of 15 and 22 who live on the streets.

Jennifer Riches is an adviser for the student body officers at the school, and she said they wanted to help their community.

“The SBO’s really wanted to impact teens that were here locally, and so we’ve chosen to work with them, and as part of that we have our annual charity assembly,” she said.

Zach Bale is the vice president of external relations at the Homeless Youth Resource Center, and he said it’s touching to see young people reach out to their peers. He said building that awareness of the problems homeless youth face is the first step.

“The thing I think of is youth helping youth—really that importance of knowing that their peers, some of them, that are living on the street.”

Bale said homeless youth face a difficult road, and their goal is to establish trust with them so they can help them more effectively.

“I think often why youth are on the street is they’ve built up this level of distrust of those around them,” he said. “About 70 percent of the youth that we serve experienced abuse prior to being on the street, so the street is safer than wherever home was.”

The student body hopes to raise $10,000 before their Christmas break begins on Dec. 19. A math teacher at the school who agreed to shave her head if the event raised at least $2,000 followed up on her promise.

Click here for more information about the Homeless Youth Resource Center.