Megan


I met Megan earlier in the day and gave her and a few other homeless youth travelers “freshies,” which is homeless youth slang for socks. Megan almost cried when I handed her socks. Later in […]

Megan

I met Megan earlier in the day and gave her and a few other homeless youth travelers “freshies,” which is homeless youth slang for socks. Megan almost cried when I handed her socks.

Later in the day, I went walking with my camera in hand. Megan saw my camera and asked me to record her story.

I was not sure I was going to post Megan’s story because I was concerned that so many people would not see the beautiful young woman I see and judge her as being a rebellious youth. This morning I watched her interview. I laughed with her, and I cried for her, and I decided that you all need to meet her.

Travelers are a subculture of homeless youth that is known for hopping trains. You’ve seen them hanging out in your city. They almost have a uniform wearing brown clothes and often have dogs. Most of the kids seem happy, and the hippie lifestyle looks attractive. The truth is, many of these kids are “throwaway” often running from horrible family situations. They find community with each other, but as young adults, this lifestyle does not come with any professional or even social development. One youth leader once told me she was concerned because these kids don’t get the nutrition they need. As fun as the traveling lifestyle may look, I have often wondered how many of these kids end up as chronic homeless in their adult years.

The general public views traveling youth as lawbreakers, drug addicts and rebels going around causing mayhem. If people would just stop for a moment to hear some of the stories, they’d learn these young adults are precious. The trauma most of this kids have gone through is heartbreaking! Many have been raised by other traveling youth and are merely trying to survive the best they can.

Helping traveling homeless youth is a unique challenge for homeless youth service providers. Just by the nature of always being transient makes it hard to provide case management and other support services. As far as I know, there is no data on how many homeless youths end up chronically homelessness as adults, but I bet the number is high.

When you watch Megan’s story, I hope you see the intelligent young woman that she is. Traveling is fun for now. We just need to be there for traveling youth to help them transition to adults so they will not be homeless later in life.

Megan Is a Homeless Youth Traveler Growing up on the Streets. Click To Tweet

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