Brighter Brains

humanism, women’s equality, sustainability, and education

Home > Articles > BBI (with humanist partners) will help Homeless Appalachian Teenagers

BBI (with humanist partners) will help Homeless Appalachian Teenagers

Posted: Fri, June 02, 2017 | By: Appalachia

Many teenagers, still in high school, are homeless in the Appalachian hills of eastern Kentucky.

Why? When they turn 18 years old, many parents kick them out of the house (or trailer). Parents don’t receive government benefits for children 18 or older, so the kids are frequently booted out to fend for themselves. Also, it is estimated that 40% of homeless teens nationwide are gay or lesbian, and that figure might be 50% in Kentucky.

BBI aims to help 25 teenagers at Breathitt High School, in Jackson, KY, who have been identified as homeless by Nan Herald of the BHS Youth Services Center.

homeless Kentucky teen
homeless Kentucky teen

Breathitt County is the setting in the recent best-seller Hillbilly Eulogy by J. D. Vance.

BBI is working on this project with the Secular Student Alliance at Morehead State University, located one hour away from Jackson.

Kayla Bowen, the director of this secular group, is from the Jackson region (specifically, her parents live on Canoe Road, near Onionpen Hollow, on the middle fork of the Kentucky River).

BBI has provided Kayla with $125 to hire a photographer to take photos of the homeless teenagers. Kayla will interview them. Photos and interviews will be posted at

We have two strategies to help the homeless teens:

1) The teenager’s photos will be linked to Donor buttons - so contributors can provide food money in the form of “vouchers” at local grocery stores.

2) We want to establish “Humanist Houses” where the teenagers can live, in Jackson. Three-bedroom homes there rent for $500/month. The teenagers will be required after 2 free months to help contribute to the expenses. A GoFundMe campaign will be launched for this project.

3-bedroom house in Jackson, Kentucky
3-bedroom house in Jackson, Kentucky

The end goal is to help these homeless teenagers further their education, perhaps at nearby Berea College, a generous institute that offers free tuition to Appalachian applicants.

BBI could not succeed in this project without the wonderful help of Kayla Bowen (who is now on our Board of Directors) and her Secular Student Alliance at Morehead State University.

We also intend to work with other Kentucky groups plus other organizations around the USA , like the Tri-State Freethinkers, The Humanist Forum of Central Kentucky, The Lexington Atheists, Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers, Kentucky Secular Society, Secular Student Alliance at Berea College, and the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Donations for the food vouchers and the “Humanist House” shelter can be made HERE


Please email comments to