To the editor:

National Safe Place Network is pleased to announce March 17 through 23, 2019, as National Safe Place Week.

The nationally recognized week serves to raise awareness about the Safe Place program, a national program which brings together businesses and volunteers to help youth in crisis.

“Unfortunately, young people face troubling issues in today’s world, such as abuse, neglect, bullying and serious family problems,” said Laurie Jackson, President/ CEO for NSPN. “It’s up to all of us to offer solutions, places where youth can go to get help. National Safe Place Week is the perfect opportunity for communities across the country to assess and strengthen their safety net for youth.” 

It is estimated that more than 1 million youth run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn.

Safe Place consists of a national network of more than 21,000 partnering businesses and community locations, such as fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, fire stations, public buses and libraries, which display the Safe Place sign in their windows. As youth enter a designated Safe Place and ask for help, trained staff members connect them to the appropriate youth shelter for assistance. 

In addition to Safe Place sites, youth may also access immediate help via TXT 4 HELP, a text-for-support service for youth in crisis. Teens can text the word “safe” and their current location (address, city, state) to 4HELP (44357) to receive a message with the closest Safe Place location and the number for the local youth shelter. Users also have the option to text interactively with a counselor for more help.

Safe Place, operated locally by the Youth Service Bureau of Jay County, partners with businesses and community organizations to provide immediate safety and support for local youth. Local Safe Place site locations include Youth Service Bureau, East Jay Middle School, Jay County High School, Portland Police Department, Jay-Randolph Developmental Services, West Jay Middle School, the Dunkirk City Building, Dunkirk Police Station, Westlawn Elementary, Redkey Elementary and Pennville Library.  

The sites we currently have trained as Safe Place sites, really do have the best interest for the kids.  These schools and businesses are important for kids in the community who may be struggling at home or in a bad situation. We are so thankful for these facilities for helping the community to keep these kids safe! 

Since its inception in 1983, Safe Place has helped more than 359,000 youth and currently serves more than 1,400 communities across the country.

The program is managed by 136 youth agencies in 37 states and the District of Columbia. 

Karley Reid 

Youth Service Bureau of Jay County