If You See Them: Young, Unhoused, and Alone in America (Hardcover)

If You See Them: Young, Unhoused, and Alone in America By Vicki Sokolik Cover Image
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A moving exploration of the crisis of homeless youth--told through the inspiring stories of a woman on the frontlines and the kids themselves.

They hide in plain sight. They survive on free school breakfasts and lunches, join school sports teams in order to shower, sleep on friends' couches, in parks, or on the streets. Their official designation is "unaccompanied homeless youth"--they are not "runaways" breaking free from strict parenting; these are kids seeking safety. They have escaped abusive parents, have been abandoned, or have never had a home to begin with.

When Vicki Sokolik's son brought home a classmate who was living on her own and was dropping out of school to support herself, Vicki stepped in to help. As she learned more about the invisible population of young people navigating life alone, she discovered the countless ways they are overlooked and impeded by the system. She founded a nonprofit and worked to change legislation in her home state of Florida to give these kids agency over their lives.

If You See Them wakes us up to the issue of youth homelessness in America, through Sokolik's own story of advocacy and through the voices of the kids themselves. Her grassroots action demonstrates the world-shifting power of compassion, acceptance, belonging, and self-determination, and the capacity each of us has to change our communities for the better.

About the Author

Vicki Sokolik is the Founder and CEO of Starting Right, Now (SRN), a pioneering, comprehensive program in two counties of Florida that provides social and health services to unhoused students who are not living with a parent or guardian and are not safeguarded by foster care. Sokolik has co-authored and amended legislation to pass ten bills protecting unaccompanied youth statewide. In acknowledgment of her work, she has been recognized by Lightning Community Heroes, Bank of America's Neighborhood Builders Program, and the Humana Communities Benefit Award. In 2019 she was recognized as a CNN Hero, an AARP Purpose Prize Fellow, and became a recipient of the Foundation for Improvement of Justice' Paul H. Chapman Gold Medal. She has served on Florida's Independent Living Services Advisory Council and Council of Homeless Board. SRN is the first and only nonprofit to win the WEDU Be More Award twice for Nonprofit of the Year, in 2012 and 2018. Florida Blue awarded SRN the 2021 Sapphire Award. In 2022, The American Psychiatric Association Foundation honored SRN with the Award for Advancing Minority Mental Health, and the Junior League of Tampa Bay awarded Vicki its 1926 Legacy Award.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781954118492
ISBN-10: 195411849X
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Publication Date: February 13th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English