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JIMMY WAYNE “WALKS HALFWAY ACROSS AMERICA” BEGINNING JAN 1
  ARTIST WANTS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF HOMELESS PLIGHT AND
 MONEY TO BENEFIT ORGANIZATIONS THAT ASSIST HOMELESS YOUTH



Nashville, TN  December 22, 2009 --  Country music recording artist Jimmy Wayne will launch his “Meet Me Halfway” campaign on January 1, 2010 when he begins his solo walk halfway across America in Nashville, TN.  Wayne’s intention is not only to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless, especially at risk children, teens and young adults, but also raise funds for organizations that benefit homeless youth, including HomeBase Youth Services, a Phoenix, AZ -- based organization that provides essentials for homeless young adults. Wayne will begin the walk at 10:00 a.m. CT on January 1st at Monroe Harding in Nashville, another organization that services at risk children and young adults. He plans to walk to Phoenix, AZ.  


“I realize beginning a mission like this in the dead of winter and walking through the middle of the country is going to be difficult, but I hope and pray I am up to the challenge,” Wayne said. “It’s going to be cold, rainy and maybe even snowing and that ground I sleep on at night is going to be really hard. But that’s what the homeless are dealing with each and every winter they go without a home of their own.  Our country is too great for us to have people who are suffering so.  And events of the past 12 to 14 months have increased the number of people—especially children and young adults—without a safe place to sleep. We as a nation have got to end homelessness and we've got to help these kids.”


Wayne grew up in a variety of foster and group homes, and occasionally found himself homeless as a teen. He was given a second chance when Bea and Russell Costner gave him a home and fresh start when he was only 16 years old. He has never forgotten the generosity of the couple, who were in their 70's when they took Wayne in.


"Bea and Russell took a chance on me, and I was certainly no poster child for adoption," Wayne said. "I was this teenager with long hair and tattoos, but they saw past that to the scared kid I was. They met me halfway by offering me a place to live and the opportunity to go back to school.  But in turn I had to meet them halfway by helping myself, which meant studying, doing chores and following the rules. They provided me with a way to help myself make a life. They gave me a home, love and respect."


Wayne's concern for the welfare of the homeless has deepened and accelerated during the past year, with so many people losing their homes to decaying real estate and financial markets.


“It’s been really hard to sit still and watch everything going on in our country since last year’s troubles on Wall Street began,” Wayne said. “While so many of these people received bailouts, and even bonuses, blue collar and Middle America has suffered. From my past, I know first hand what the homeless are experiencing—no roof over your head, no real certainty that there will be any food for the day and just hoping the pair of shoes on your feet lasts another winter. No one in this country should be faced with that kind of situation -- especially kids.  But unfortunately thousands of people are going though this each and every day.”


Wayne selected HomeBase Youth Services as the recipient of any donations people care to make because of the work they do with homeless young adults (age 18 –21).  Like most charitable organizations, HomeBase has also been hit hard by the economic woes of the country. HomeBase is an Arizona-based, non-profit organization founded in 1991 to address the growing needs of at-risk and homeless youth age 21 and younger.  At age 18, many youth "age out" of the foster care or juvenile justice systems without the necessary life skills to live independently; as a result, they quickly end up homeless and on the streets.  Other youth choose to flee their homes after years of mental, physical and emotional abuse or neglect.  HomeBase addresses the needs of this "forgotten" population, and assists these promising young people with the tools they need to live healthy, independent lives. The programs and services include Street Outreach, Mobile Medical Outreach, Employment and Life Skills Training, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Care, a Resource Center, a Transitional Living Program and an Independent Living Program. The mission of HomeBase Youth Services is to teach at-risk and homeless youth how to become self-sufficient adults.


Likewise Monroe Harding partners with at-risk youth and families to provide a bridge toward independence and success.  This is accomplished through foster care and adoption services, residential housing and a center for youth aging out of state custody.  On-campus and Independent Living residential programs include progressively independent levels of living experiences for youth in state custody.  All levels include education, vocational training, life skills and—most importantly—the support and guidance of a caring adult. Private foster homes provide an array of therapeutic foster care and adoptions services for children of all ages. Youth Connections is Nashville’s resource center for young people between the ages of 18 and 23 and have previously been in foster care. The center provides assistance with housing, employment, well-being, education, life skills education, financial literacy and an on-site thrift store.


"Because I was helped when I needed it, I want to try and help now," Wayne said. "If the bit of celebrity I have can help me raise awareness of this situation --that there are kids and young people out there who need our help, then I feel like I have accomplished my goal.  I'm not asking people to come out and walk with me, but I am asking them to meet me halfway by getting involved-- donate money, adopt a kid, learn more about the foster child/foster parent program in your local community.  There's so much one person can do, and so many ways they can make a difference. It just takes one person to help someone to a better life."


Marmot Sportswear is providing Wayne with essential cold weather clothing for Meet Me Halfway. For additional information on "Meet Me Halfway" and Wayne, please visit www.jimmywayne.com
  . To learn more about HomeBase or make a donation to this organization, please visit www.hbys.org  .


For more information on Monroe Harding or make a donation to this organization, please visit www.monroeharding.org
 .
 

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