Friday, December 17, 2010

Homeless Youth Become A Holiday Focus

The Little Match Girl"In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of that?" — Hans Christian Andersen

The story of the Little Match Girl has warmed hearts and chilled souls for more than 150 years. Published in 1846, the story conveys the perseverance of a little girl, with her oversized slippers lost, attempting to sell matches in the street. The story has been recast several times, including The Little Matchgirl by Disney and Pixar (below).

Although the girl is not homeless, the story often inspires people to imagine poor or homeless children and take action within their own neighborhoods, towns, and cities. They exist. One recent study estimates as many as 1.6 million children are homeless in the United States; 100 million in the world. Many of their stories end the same way as the short.

One national program that aids homeless youth is StandUp For Kids, a nonprofit organization operating in 27 states. It provides localized outreach programs that train and coordinate volunteers who go into the streets in order to find, stabilize, and help homeless kids.

How Switchfoot Helps StandUp For Kids Every Year.

One of its many partners includes the San Diego-based rock band Switchfoot. Last May, Jon Foreman (lead vocals, guitar), Tim Foreman (bass, backing vocals), Chad Butler (drums, percussion), Jerome Fontamillas (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), and Drew Shirley (guitar, backing vocals) posted a unique auction on Bidfire, with the winner receiving the chance to record a song with the band.

The song (recorded in June) appeared on iTunes and MySpace. The auction coincided with the Bro-Am in San Diego, which also benefits San Diego-area chapters of StandUp for Kids. The event, which combines a surf contest and beach concert, raised more than $100,000.

After the winner of the contest, Ruddy Gracia, recorded a song with Switchfoot in June, it appeared on a special iTunes session released in August. You can find Your Love Is A Song on the last track track of the Switchfoot iTunes Sessions.

In addition to street outreach, StandUp for Kids also operates a number of deterrence and resource programs online and at schools. More importantly, all facets of its mission are guided by a mandate that its volunteers express concern and compassion for the kids they help, and then prove it on a daily basis. There are hundreds of testimonials that say they do.

"StandUp For Kids is the only organization that treated me like I was a human," said Brian Haslip, one homeless youth who received help. "Thank you Rick and StandUp ... without you, I wouldn't be here."

StandUp For Kids Is A Liquid Hip Good Will Pick.

At least once a month, Liquid [Hip] highlights good will efforts undertaken by courageous people with big hearts. We don’t score them. That belongs to you.

If you would like to help, donate direct to the nonprofit StandUp for Kids on its website through PayPal. More than 94 percent of all funds raised directly benefit homeless and street kids across the United States.
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