By Shakala Alvaranga –  January 20, 2013

Not many Inaugural Balls give young people the opportunity to participate in inaugural galas. But the H.O.P.E. Inaugural Youth Ball did just that. Today many families enjoyed an afternoon of elegance and fun at The Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C..

“The Wire” actor James Crawford spearheaded the H.O.P.E. Inaugural Youth Ball.  He created it from his own personal experiences working on the HBO series. On the show, Crawford plays Duquan “Dukie” Weems, a homeless teenager. When the role he played turned into something much deeper, Crawford decided he need to act, and not just on television. So he found Code Blue which helps put an end to youth homelessness. Screen Shot 2013-01-30 at 12.24.56 AM

“A lot of people, when they think of homelessness, they think of adults,” Crawford told WEBN Boston. “They don’t think of 13-year-olds homeless living in vans. They also don’t think that when a family becomes homeless, the children become homeless.”

The H.O.P.E. Inaugural Youth Ball will raise money for Code Blue.

Crawford believes this event is a way to make people more knowledgeable on the growing problem. When he began his research, he found that 1.8 million youth are homeless each year. And that bothered him.

While playing the role on “The Wire,” Crawford was around the same age as the homeless youth he was portraying. He says it was tough to imagine teenagers who were just like him who had hopes and dreams, but had no chance of accomplishing them. He thought it was his duty to fight for them.

The actor sponsored ten boys and girls and a family to attend the H.O.P.E. Inaugural Ball and also told them some exciting news. “We got the lady [the mother of the homeless family] a job with a security company, so she will start work very soon and hopefully that can be a step in the right direction.”

“The whole purpose of this is if I can at least change one life, we’re good to go,” Crawford said.