The Star's poverty series this week focuses on young children, but teenagers are suffering too and their needs are often overlooked.

A local non-profit group called Youth on Their Own gives homeless and near homeless teens financial incentives for staying in school and for good grades.

These youths are ages 13 through 21 and are often couch-hopping and trying to go to school under difficult circumstances.

Some of those older than 18 don't have any health insurance, either.

They may be homeless or near homeless but they aren't in foster care and don't have some of the assistance and programs that kids with Child Protective Services involvement (and those aging out of the foster system) have.

Here's how to help the kids with Youth On Their Own, whose numbers jumped by 60 percent this year:

The "Stuff a Backpack" drive goes through Sept. 1 and Youth On Their Own leaders are asking for donations of various school supplies like loose leaf paper, folders, pens, binders, pencils, glue, tape, calculators, Kleenex, and hand sanitizer.

Drop-off sites are:

  • Youth On Their Own, 1660 N. Alvernon Way
  • Bolchalk/Frey Advertising, 310 S. Williams Blvd., Suite 260
  • AF Sterling Homes, 6340 N. Campbell Blvd., Suite 240
  • Edward Jones Office, 6735 E. Broadway
  • Inspired Life Chiropractic, 64 N. Harrison Road, Suite 100

Or Call Youth On Their Own at 293-1136 or make a donation by mail or on the group's website: