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Greyhound Is Giving Free Bus Tickets To Runaway Kids Who Want To Come Back Home

Greyhound Bus Lines has once again teamed up with the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) organization to offer runaway children a free bus ticket home so they can safely be reunited with their families.

According to CNN, the transportation company has been partnering with NRS for over a decade to help runaway kids who want to come back home again do just that.

The NRS is a non-profit organization that offers runaways, homeless kids, and at-risk youths a confidential, anonymous hotline.

According to its website, they also offer resources for parents and guardians of runaways, and work to help support and counsel troubled kids who feel like they have no one else to turn to.

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In 2002, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention estimated that 1.6 million children run away every year in the U.S.

Unsplash | Priscilla Du Preez

According to the NRS, around 48% of the organization's callers say family dynamics (divorce, remarriage, step/blended families, problems with family rules, discipline, or problems with siblings) and abuse as the reason for their call.

"Often kids run away from home to remove themselves from an immediately painful situation, but with no plans for what to do next."

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Since 1995, Greyhound has been partnering with the NRS to bring runaway children home to their families again.

The Home Free program gives out around 400 free bus tickets a year to adolescents and has reportedly helped to reunite over 16,000 families.

Rather than struggle to find their own transportation home, potentially leading to dangerous means of travel, children can board a Greyhound bus and trust they'll reach their destination safely.

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So how can children become eligible for a free bus ride home?

In order to get their free ticket, someone between the age of 12 and 21 must call the NRS helpline (1-800-RUNAWAY), be named on a runaway report, and be willing to reunite with their families. Their parents/guardians must also agree to welcoming them home, too.

If the children is under 15, their parents/guardians will be given a free ticket, too. A person can only be given a free bus ticket through the program twice.

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Before their journey home begins, NRS steps in and helps both the youth and their guardians make a plan.

Together, they come up with a safe route home, and NRS also provides the family with local resources that will provide support once everyone's settled again.

After the kid and their family have been reunited, the organization will follow up with them to make sure the trip was a safe one.

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On their website, the NRS emphasizes that children who runaway from home are not automatically "bad" kids.

The organization explains those children are usually running away from something, not towards something:

"They are dealing with a situation that feels overwhelming, be it family dynamics, bullying, gender identity or being lured from home over the internet. They believe living anywhere else is better; even if this means living on the streets."

h/t: CNN, NRS

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