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Louisville Witness Joins Yarmuth in Urging Action on Behalf of Disconnected Youth in House Committee Hearing

17 year-old Rusty Booker moves committee with tale of abuse to accomplishment 
[click here for Video]

(Washington, DC) Today, at the request of Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3), Louisvillian, Rusty Booker testified before the Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities hearing on “Runaway, Homeless, and Missing Children: Perspectives on Helping the Nation’s Vulnerable Youth.” Rusty testified [click here to watch testimony] about his own experience with abuse, running away at the age of 12, his placement in five failed foster homes, and finally finding a path to independence with the help of Safe Place.

The two had met three weeks earlier at Congressman Yarmuth’s forum on disconnected youth, and was taken with his story.  “The power of his story comes not simply from the hand that he was dealt, but in the way he played it,” Yarmuth said in his introduction of Rusty. 

Rusty’s testimony tugged at the heartstrings of many in the committee room, when he told of how far he’d come—from a boy who had given up just five years ago to a young man who now plans to attain a degree in law enforcement.  Even Rusty teared up near the end of his testimony as he mentioned the kind people who had helped them along the way.

“The tremendous value of Rusty’s testimony comes not just from putting a human face on an issue that we in Congress frequently characterize by statistics, but also because Rusty’s story is one of amazing strength and courage,” Yarmuth said following the hearing.  “These kids just need to be given the chance and, like Rusty, can become major contributors to our communities.”

Rusty now works on outreach through Safe Place to help kids on the street find the help and resources to succeed as he did.

Yarmuth is the lead sponsor on the reauthorization.