Protecting our teens and children

Graphic by Bruna Costa

I was housing unstable when I found out about Relisha Rudd. She was a girl who went missing while she and her family were staying at the D.C. General Family Shelter.

It made me think about how the youth are vulnerable. Children and teens are supposed to be protected. I remember experiences from my life that continue to haunt me and trigger me. I wish I was protected and safe growing up because it’s hard to deal with “losing control,” as I call it.

As a mom, I am bothered about how Rudd vanished the way she did. But I also want to know what is really going on to protect the youth from being kidnapped. Human trafficking is real. And being in D.C., seeing the youth here, it’s like you just never know. But I wish for a safe return home for families that are missing loved ones.

Today, there are 14 youth reported missing this year in D.C. But there are also some that return home each year.

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We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.