Dear Gossips,

Duana sent over an article this morning to us on group chat that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s about Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train. Remember the song? And, in particular, the video? In addition to the band, the video featured photos of real missing kids. I had no idea until I read the piece that the video was re-edited often to update the images – if/when a young person was found, their picture would be replaced with someone else. The article wonders about the lost youth and follows up on a few of their stories.

I was 18 or so when the video was first released. Not going to lie, probably one of the reasons it was on my radar was because Winona Ryder got together with Dave Pirner around this time, her first serious boyfriend after Johnny Depp. Back then I was only thinking about Winona’s romantic business. I wasn’t thinking about the haunting reality behind those class photos and, in my privilege, I certainly had no idea about why kids run away or, in some cases, how they are taken.


Ten years later I started working at Covenant House Vancouver (CHV), raising awareness for at-risk youth, in our community but also in myself. At CHV I learned to challenge my own assumptions about street kids and we worked, together, to challenge the broader social assumptions about streets and to educate people on how kids end up alone, and angry, and afraid, and empty, and adrift.

Every year, at Covenant House sites around the world, community leaders are invited to participate in the Sleep Out. They spend a night outside, experiencing in a minor way what youth-at-risk experience every day. This year’s Sleep Out is happening on November 17. In Vancouver we have a celebrity angle. If you watch The Bachelor/ette– and I know A LOT of you do – Kaitlyn Bristowe is involved. Please click here for more information and if you are able to help.

I was on the Sleep Out team a few years ago. That night, before we went outside to sleep on pieces of cardboard and newspaper, we had the opportunity to meet some of the young people who’d been helped by our programs. One of them, in recounting his experience as a street kid, told us that the worst part of the day was often not making eye contact with anyone, that most people don’t want to acknowledge that they’re there. I remembered this story today when I was reading that piece on Runaway Train. And the difference more eye contact would make either in locating the missing or, simply, helping them feel, if only temporarily, not quite so lost. Click here to read the article on Runaway Train.

Yours in gossip,