America has come to expect certain things from Miley Cyrus over the years. Namely, to expect the unexpected. Just as the world was embracing Hannah Montana, the young star quickly shed that persona and grew up doing things her way without regrets. Critics have taken issue with Cyrus’s overt sexual themes and what some may call “publicity stunts” – especially the racy “twerking” incident in 2013.
Cyrus’s latest move though might be not only her most unexpected, but her best move yet.
On May 6, Cyrus penned an op-ed titled “Dinosaurs And Innovators” speaking on behalf of homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and any other vulnerable youth populations. She explains her motivation behind addressing the issue:
I haven’t been quiet or shy about discrimination issues towards the LGBT community because by alienating people, it makes it harder to work, live in society, have a home, have a family, and can result in homelessness. I wanted to learn more about other challenges in the LGBT community, like violence against transgender women, HIV/AIDS and family condemnation. Anything beautiful on this planet takes time, and with time comes change. That’s why I’m launching the Happy Hippie Foundation — because every life is valuable and we should make sure those who question their value feel protected.
Later, she goes on to say;
Happy Hippie has raised and donated money so that homeless young people at My Friend’s Place shelter in LA will receive food and clean socks and underwear for the next two years. While clean socks and underwear seem normal to us, they aren’t to the 1.6 million homeless young Americans without them. They will also receive more than 60,000 meals and snacks.
Cyrus also talks about bringing arts programs, animal companionship and a safe digital network to provide a stronger safety net for our most troubled homeless youth. Her efforts seem to be working in traditional “good sense “methods and combining it with more innovative approaches. Which is just what one would expect from a young creative artist.
There was one clue Cyrus gave to becoming more prominent in this cause. At the 2014 MTV Movie Awards, Cyrus had a 22-year-old homeless man accept the award for her and give a passionate speech about LGBT youth homelessness as the star looked on from the crowd. But unfortunately, even today one, mention Miley Cyrus and most people are probably gonna say “twerk” before they think “leading homeless youth advocate.”
See her talk about her efforts in this interview:
Also, it should be mentioned that this is hardly Cyrus’s first entry into the charitable ring. Despite a wild reputation she has been an active contributor to such charities as Elton John’s foundation, The Make A Wish Foundation, Kid’s Wish and a list of charities primarily dealing with children’s or animal issues.
But now Miley Cyrus has taken the next step and struck out on her own, much as she did musically years ago. She has done so with the same drive to be both successful and different. If her music career is any indication, I expect The Happy Hippie Foundation to do a lot of good.
But the road won’t be easy. According to the Happy Hippie site, here are some troubling facts about today’s homeless youth:
1.6 million youth are homeless each year
40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, and family rejection is the most common reason LGBT youth experience homelessness
25% of homeless youth were previously physically or sexually abused
Nearly one in three transgender people have been turned away from shelters
You can learn more about The Happy Hippie Foundation HERE.
Featured image via screen capture on youtube.com