Chris “Ludacris” Bridges continues to make a difference in the lives of youth by lending his talents to a national Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign for the National Runaway Switchboard (NRS). The campaign aims to raise awareness of the youth runaway crisis in America and educate youth and families about the help they can receive by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY.
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The Grammy Award-winning rap artist and award-winning actor is featured in two 30-second and two 60-second video PSAs explaining to viewers the staggering statistics that face this young demographic, “One third of runaway and homeless youth have attempted suicide … runaway and homeless youth report being sexually abused seven times more than youth in general.” The PSAs will be distributed to more than 1,300 broadcast television stations and cable outlets throughout the country this week.
“Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away in a year,” said Maureen Blaha, NRS executive director. “Having Ludacris featured in this PSA campaign will help ensure that every runaway and at-risk youth and their family know about the help they can receive by calling 1-800-RUNAWAY.” One set of the 30- and 60-second PSAs focus on raising awareness about the runaway issue and 1-800-RUNAWAY, while the other 30- and 60-second PSAs focus on November’s National Runaway Prevention Month.
Since forming a partnership last fall with Ludacris and The Ludacris Foundation, NRS has experienced more than a 50 percent increase in calls to its hotline from a year ago, and the number of visitors to its website (http://www.1800RUNAWAY.org) has increased more than 60 percent. The National Runaway Switchboard, established in 1971, serves as the federally-designated national communication system for homeless and runaway youth. Recognized as the oldest hotline of its kind in the world, NRS, with the support of more than 150 volunteers, handles an average of 100,000 calls annually. NRS provides crisis intervention, referrals to local resources, and education and prevention services to youth, families and community members throughout the country 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Over 10,000 youth have been reunited with their families through the NRS Home Free program done in collaboration with Greyhound Lines, Inc. The NRS crisis hotline is 1-800-RUNAWAY. For information, visit http://www.1800RUNAWAY.org.