On January 17, 2014, Tina Giarla, a student at Salem State University who was homeless for several years as a teen, spoke to 600 students at New Bedford High School about the importance of unaccompanied youth coming forward so officials can get them help and services.
In the video, Tina recalled how as a teenager, she hid her homelessness from her peers as she shuttled between relatives and friends in Massachusetts and Florida.
Now a youth advocate with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and a student at Salem State University, she said concealing her homelessness still haunts her today.
This talk was part of an effort to help homeless service providers and school officials identify students who do not have a stable place to live. The occasion was the inaugural Youth Count Kick-off in advance of the city's 24-hour Point in Time Count of the homeless, which took place on January 29, 2014.