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How To Run Away From Home: After

July 3, 2015

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When thinking about the resources and support network you need, consider these three basic things:

  1. Where can I go?
  2. What do I need?
  3. Who can and will help?

In the last post, I covered what all you need to bring or consider when preparing to leave. Now, have a big list of places and people who can help you once you’re out.

Who Can Help?

What kind of things do you need on your Bug-Out Bag info list? Think about what you’ll need once you’re on your own. Money, food, housing, medical care, emotional support…

Keep a list of all of the people and places that can give you that so you know where to go in the middle of the night. These can be:

  • friends
  • family members of friends
  • your own sympathetic family members
  • social services/child protective services
  • the police
  • hotlines
  • domestic violence centers
  • shelters
  • food banks
  • employment offices
  • clinics
  • college financial aid offices
  • the library, which can put you in touch with all of the above

Seriously, I cannot emphasize the last one enough. Your local public or school library has so many regional-specific resources available for you if you just ask. If nothing else, the library is a good place to stay during the day when you have nowhere else to go.

How To Run Away From Home

  1. Intro: How To Run Away From Home
  2. Before: Planning & Preparation
  3. After: Resources & What’s Next

A version of this series was originally posted on the Orphan Survival Guide Tumblr.

Resources

Soon I’ll have easily-referenced and cataloged Resource pages branching from the reading list in the navbar. For now, here is an extensive (but far from complete) list of websites and organizations that support and assist youth and adult children who are separating from their parents.

Note: As an American, these resources are mostly specific to people who live in the United States. However, there are similarly-named organizations and groups in most countries that provide the same kinds of assistance. A little Googling can go a long way. If you find any invaluable resources or organizations that aren’t on this list, please feel free to reach out to me!

Crisis Hotlines and Chat Support

Most crisis help lines can help you out when you plan to run away from home by searching for shelters and case workers for you, or just by talking through the reasons you want to run away from home. They’re a great resource to have on hand when you’re feeling lost.

Abuse Reporting and Recovery

Whether you’re trying to become emancipated, press charges against your parents, or you just need help with the emotional fallout when you run away from home, these organizations can help you find the resources that work for your specific situation.

Homelessness

Shelters gain and lose funding all the time, so it always helps to search for what’s still open in your immediate area. These websites and organizations can help with that search, but again: libraries are often safe spaces and the staff there know what’s in your neighborhood better than a stranger on the internet.

Transitioning to Independence

Many of the homeless shelters and youth programs listed above have transitional housing programs, but here are two good resources for getting help transitioning to independent living when transitional housing programs aren’t available.

  • Help When You Need It: connects you with local providers for financial, food, and housing assistance
  • Year Up: transitional living programs that get you employed and housed within a year

Health and Wellness

Many homeless youth struggle with receiving adequate health care on the streets. These two sites help connect you with general and mental health services in your area, but they are by no means exhaustive lists. Search for free or tiered-payment clinics in your area for local providers.

General Youth Support

Most helplines and providers focus on immediate problems such as homelessness or abuse, but youth who run away from home have any number of other issues to deal with, from dating to drugs to staying in school. These organizations help supplement the day-to-day drama you have to deal with. Many larger cities also have youth centers, so be sure to search for what’s in your area.

  • Boys and Girls Club: outreach and after-school programs, as well as counselors and case workers who can connect you with local providers
  • ReachOut: information and advice for common issues facing youth today
  • YWCA: programs and services for at-risk youth
  • CenterLink: LGBT-focused community and youth groups

orphan survival guide - how to run away from home

What’s Next?

Things will be hard, for a long time.

You’ll have no fewer than 500 interactions with other people that make you doubt whether this was the right decision. People will doubt and belittle you. No matter how much you love your friends, you’ll resent them for taking their healthy parental relationships for granted. You’ll hate other parents.

You’ll struggle. You’ll struggle with emotions and baggage. You’ll struggle to establish yourself as an independent adult, because a lot of people and support systems will actively work to keep you from being independent.

But you can get through it. I did. In some ways, I’m still getting through it. But I think it’s worth it.

I have good friends. I am gainfully employed. I have a roof over my head. I am more sure of who I am.

There are resources out there for you to get help, and people who have been through the same thing you have.

If you need to feel validated and supported, or you just want hope for your future, head to Raised by Narcissists and Parentless By Choice. These communities are full of people who have been in similar situations to yours, who either learned how to manage their families or escaped them altogether. They also have lists of resources for domestic violence and therapy that I really recommend checking out. (I used a lot of their links for this post, but they have others.)

Taking steps to improve your life and future can be really hard, and sometimes you want to feel like you’re accomplishing something even if you don’t want to do anything. The OSG Resources page has a list of things to read that were written by or about people who’ve been in this situation before.

How To Run Away From Home

  1. Intro: How To Run Away From Home
  2. Before: Planning & Preparation
  3. After: Resources & What’s Next

A version of this series was originally posted on the Orphan Survival Guide Tumblr.

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