It snowed for the first time this fall today in Upstate New York. I bitched a bit as I scraped the slush off my car windows. Then it occurred to me how very lucky I am. I have a safe place to live and a loving family. I have warm clothes, my own computer and games to play. And I can't remember the last time I was truly hungry. Millions of kids are not so fortunate; they're homeless.
In America alone, where I live, there are currently an estimated 1.3 million homeless children and teenagers. Kids make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. homeless population. Some have parents who are also homeless, many are by themselves, and some have kids of their own. Some crash with friends, some stay in shelters, some live rough on the streets. All have hopes and dreams—just like you and me—but having to focus on day-to-day survival can make those dreams seem unattainable.
Whatever the circumstances, no kid should have to be homeless. But what can just one person do to make a difference? Well, recently I learned about an organization called Do1Thing. They're a group of photojournalists, writers and other creative people whose mission is to "put a face" on homeless youth. Their hope is that by doing one thing to raise awareness, they'll encourage others to do one thing to help.
After seeing some of the stories on their site—like that of Lulu, a homeless girl in Portland, Maine, whose mom died when she was 12 and who just found out she's pregnant; and Russell, a talented singer, who left his drug-addicted parents to try and make it on his own in Minneapolis and one day dreams of becoming a lawyer—I knew I had to help.
So for the rest of the year, I've decided to do one thing and give all profits from tombraiders.net to help homeless teenagers. The money will be shared equally among Do1Thing, Covenant House, Stand Up For Kids and my local support network, Family of Woodstock. I also plan to donate some time to help out where I can.
I'd like to encourage all of you to do one thing—whether it's contributing here, donating directly to one of these worthy causes, volunteering with a local organization, helping out a homeless or at-risk kid you know or have seen in your neighborhood, or just spreading the word, like I'm trying to do here.
If we all do just one thing, imagine what we could achieve.