Dave Fahrner - An important Thank you!
December 9, 2018
I want to thank you very much for your generous donation to Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) and the One Cold Night event this past Friday night. Your financial contribution continues to raise awareness of youth homelessness here in Sonoma County and supports the critical work SAY does to serve these young members of our community. I cannot thank you enough for your generosity.
As you are aware, I was one of the 60+ "sleepers" who spent Friday night outside (at six locations throughout Sonoma County) to support and advocate for these young people. I learned a lot from this extraordinary experience and it was a privilege to support SAY in this way.
I was cold and uncomfortable! My accommodations were a well lit, asphalt parking lot in downtown Santa Rosa. There was plenty of traffic noise, loud music, and a police intervention with a ranting drunk person. I was given a modest sleeping bag and a small tarp to sleep on. I now have a better understanding of what all homeless people face living on the street. It is not a pleasant situation.
The big take away for me was how quickly a person becomes isolated and vulnerable being unsheltered on the street. I had plenty of time to reflect on this while I attempted to stay warm. SAY's crisis in-take coordinator explained that 90% of homeless youth have no one they can call and no one they can count on to help them, 90%! They are truly alone in the world and this is a horrible place to be. A person's physical, emotional and mental condition deteriorates very quickly in this type of environment.
This is where SAY steps in. They are doing the serious work that has been drastically cut or eliminated at the local, state and federal level. It is very unlikely our political system will ever replace or implement these desperately needed services and programs. Thank goodness SAY exists to provides vital housing, counseling and training services.
My raised awareness and understanding of these issues will only lead me to further support and advocate for SAY and the youth homeless. SAY is the model and example of how a difference is being made. They are part of the solution and your support of their work is making a real difference.
Solid, tangible progress is happening in Sonoma County. In 2018 alone, SAY has helped move 240 vulnerable young people off the street towards a path of permanent independence and productivity. We all benefit from this achievement.
In addition to your financial support, please share (advocate) with your friends and family the work SAY does to leverage the support you have already given. More information about SAY can be found on their website at www.saysc.org
Once again, my great thanks to you. Best wishes for a joyous holiday season and a healthy, happy and prosperous 2019.