November is National Runaway Prevention Month. That means that there is a higher awareness of the plights of runaways, especially youth. It is for that reason that Compass House, located at 370 Linwood Avenue, has set up a 24 Hour Couch-a-Thon, where volunteers are camped out on a couch on the front porch. The event kicked off at 10am this morning, and will last until 10am Friday morning.
I swung by to check out the unusual scene, and was met by Jacky Zientowski, the volunteer who was on couch duty for two hours, from 3pm to 5pm. Once Jacky’s stint was through, another volunteer will take her place, until the mission is complete.
The annual Couch-a-Thon is designed to get people thinking about what it means to be living away from home, on the streets. We’re not just talking about uncomfortable conditions due to the cold weather, we must also remember that a lot of runaways don’t even have access to a porch, or a couch, or anything else for that matter. That’s why so many runaways turn to drugs, or the sex trade.
“I was lucky that I had an older sister to turn to,” said Jacky. “There are a lot of young people don’t have any guidance. It can take only one person to give someone hope. But once runaway goes down the wrong path, it can be hard to get off that path. That’s why we’re here – to raise awareness that there are people at Compass House that can help. This is the second year that the Couch-a-Thon has taken place. Altogether there are 16 volunteers throughout the 24 hours event. So far, I think that it’s working well, because a lot of people are walking up and asking what we’re doing.”
Compass House is a shelter for the homeless, runaways, and street youth.
24-Hour Helpline | 716-886-0935