Rapid City’s Youth Action Board wants to prevent runaways

Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 7:30 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - In 2021 there were approximately 600 reports of runaways in Rapid City, and so far this year, 478 have been reported.

According to empoweringparents.com adolescents run away because they don’t have good problem-solving skills and they don’t want to face anything which includes emotions they don’t want to deal with.

The commander of the Rapid City Police Department’s youth outreach program said teaching kids those coping skills helps in the long run.

“It’s going to be easier to work with the younger kids and get the family the help they need when the kid is younger versus when they’re 15, when their behavior is escalated. But the system struggles to keep up because of everything we’re dealing with,” said Lieutenant Tim Doyle.

Hannah Brink with the Youth Action Board has first-hand experience; she was also a runaway.

“I have known people who’ve run away, and I’ve run away myself, it’s important in that sense to have this walk is that they don’t feel like their by themselves and they have people who are there to help them so that they don’t have to run away,” said Brink.

Brink said one way to prevent runaways is to make people feel more validated by offering resources such as counseling or food. She also said to make sure the person’s environment is healthy and sustainable.

If you are thinking of running away, or know a loved one who is, call the National Runaway Hotline at 1-800-786-2929.