Act Together

Spending the Holidays in a Shelter

Most of us are fortunate enough to have never experienced homelessness. The youth in our shelter can’t say the same. Right now, as you read this, there are local teens who have no idea they’ll spend Christmas with us; that’s how quickly circumstances can change.

Christmas at home is a time for family traditions, gifts, gatherings, and festive foods. Understandably the youth in our care have complex and mixed emotions about spending the holiday season with us. We see an increase in fights, runaways, oppositional behavior, and youth generally acting out as they wrestle with these complex emotions. Imagine being away from your family during the time of year when families are in focus. Kids feel angry, frustrated, and hope that maybe their Christmas wishes will be granted, and they will reunite with their families in time to spend Christmas morning at home. Disappointment is a part of their holiday when those expectations aren’t met.

Temara Carthens, with Act Together, has spent her last two holiday seasons taking care of youth in our crisis care shelter. “It’s an emotional roller coaster for all of us, youth and staff,” she said. “We get so many youths from different backgrounds with different traditions, and we try to make them all happy. Some are happy to be somewhere that cares and tries to provide a loving and positive experience. Some youth don’t care how much you give; they want to be at home with their family.”

“We get so many youths from different backgrounds with different traditions, and we try to make them all happy.”

At Act Together, we take care of kids. We try and offer our youth fun holiday experiences and the opportunity to make new, positive memories. And, of course, wrapped presents for everyone. Christmas isn’t only about gifts, but all kids love presents on Christmas day. Ruben Marion has been working with Youth Focus for over a decade and spent his most memorable Christmas at Act Together. “One year, a 13-year-old boy received an art set. He shouted out; This is the best Christmas I ever had! It reminded me of how easy it is to make a lifetime memory, to give a gift that can help a child cope with what may seem like the worst time of their life.”

Act Together is fortunate to be a part of a community like Greensboro, who is so very supportive of our youth and program. Every year Greensboro opens their hearts and purses to let homeless, neglected, and pushed-out kids know it cares. Greensboro cares so much that even if a kid shows up on Christmas Eve or Day, there are presents for them too. We try and make everyone feel loved and have full bellies, big smiles, and grateful hearts.

We do our very best to make sure that when our youth have grown, the Christmas they spent with us isn’t their worst, and they leave with one or two fond memories. Thank you for supporting us and loving these kids as much as we do.


To learn more about how you can help, please follow us on Facebook. If you’d like to donate to a teen’s Christmas, please visit us online or donate via Facebook.

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Lost In America

Lost In America is a feature documentary that follows director Rotimi Rainwater’s journey of shining a light on youth homelessness in America. This film takes an all-encompassing look at this pandemic highlighting issues like: human trafficking, the foster care system, youth rejected because of their sexuality, domestic violence, abuse, and more. It also examines what many organizations, politicians and other public figures are doing (or not doing) to help these youth. 

Then moving beyond that – focusing on more than just politics, more than just society’s feelings towards these youth, more than funding and bureaucracy, what lies at the heart of Lost in America is the stories of our YOUTH. These are amazing individuals that are not defined by their circumstance, but are defined by their courage, their resilience, and their desire to grow and succeed.  Their search for love and acceptance,  and need to find their place in this world makes you realize that they are no different from your children. These children who, by a variety of reasons, have found themselves living on the streets and searching for help.

Through Rotimi’s personal connection with these youth, we take an inside look at who they are and what their lives are truly like. We explore the reasons why they ended up on the streets, the issues they face, and the things they have to do to survive. These youth are not outcasts, invisible children that are meant to be forgotten. They are our future, they are our hope, and by illuminating their stories we hope to serve as a catalyst for change, making these youth no longer… Lost in America.

Learn more at http://www.lostinamericafilm.com/

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Given the current state and local guidelines for COVID-19, Youth Focus has temporarily suspended all on-site visitors and volunteers. This does NOT include clients or those accompanying clients to appointments. Those coming on-site will be asked to wear a mask for the duration of the appointment and limit the number of accompanying guests. Thank you for your understanding and commitment to the safety of our youth and staff.
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