ACLU Leads Young People on Mission Targeting Teen Homelessness

August 5, 1999 12:00 am

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SAN FRANCISCO– Twenty Northern California high school students will study youth homelessness in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas this summer, on a journey sponsored by the Howard A. Friedman First Amendment Education Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

The participants, all high school students ranging in age from 15 to 18, come from families with a range of ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Students in this year’s project come from high schools in San Francisco, Oakland, Albany, Berkeley, Vallejo, Marin County, Castro Valley, Martinez, Santa Rosa, San Ramon, San Jose, and Watsonville, among others.

Their journey, titled “Homelessness: Unplugged,” will take place from August 8 to August 17. The students plan to visit drop-in centers, group homes, needle exchange programs, youth clinics, merchant associations, and youth employment centers. They will also conduct “on-the-street” surveys with homeless youth in both the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles.

“These trips provide our future leaders with a solid foundation as they grapple with the complex social issues confronting them and the rest of society,” said Nancy Otto, Director of the Howard A. Friedman First Amendment Education Project.

Now in its ninth year, the project has sponsored three years of summer study projects on immigration, juvenile justice, and tribal sovereignty. The young researchers’ work resulted in the publication of two reports, titled “Through Our Eyes, Juvenile Justice: Unplugged” and “Through Our Eyes, Immigration: Unplugged.”

The students will publish a report on this year’s journey and use it in presentations to high schools throughout Northern California in the coming year.

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