The voices of youth advocates were heard at the Philadelphia Virtual 10K Walk for Homeless Youth, held on Saturday night at Drinker’s West. Hosted by Miss Pennsylvania USA Amber-Joi Watkins and featuring a moving performance by spoken word artist El Poeta, the event offered attendees the opportunity to hear from a variety of people concerned with the welfare of homeless youth.

Francine Williams told the crowd about her efforts to reach out to vulnerable teens through the Runaway Youth Program at YSI’s YES teen shelter. She was joined by Dee Watson, a mother whose son has benefited greatly from YES’ mentorship program. Ms. Watson strongly emphasized the importance of services like the mentoring program for youth who are in need of support and guidance.

Brandon Stokes, a youth advocate and member of the Mayor’s Youth Commission, spoke about the struggles of youth living on the street. He described their potential for success when provided with the resources they need to achieve. Brandon cited OPPORTUNITIES-PA, an organization that he strongly supports, as an example of a group that makes positive change in the lives of homeless teens.

Saturday night’s virtual walk was one of several connected events taking place in cities across the country as part of the National Walk and Concert to Save Homeless Youth. We would like to commend the other agencies participating in the national effort for their dedicated efforts. In addition, we offer our thanks to our partner organization for the event, OPPORTUNITIES-PA, and the attendees who came out on Saturday. Your support is much appreciated.