National Safe Place Week 2016 (#NSPWeek2016) is upon us! This nationally recognized week serves to raise awareness of Safe Place, an outreach and prevention program for youth in crisis. NSP Week is also a dedicated time to recognize the various partners who collaborate to offer immediate help and safety for young people. Partners include licensed Safe Place agencies, businesses, civic and social services organizations, volunteers, donors – both on the local and national levels. These partners stand together to strengthen the safety net for youth in America and that’s exactly the reason we’re celebrating this week!
To understand more about the program, let’s look back at its origin:
Safe Place launched in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983 as an outreach program of the YMCA Shelter House, a youth and family service organization of the YMCA of Greater Louisville. Access to emergency counseling and shelter for youth was raised as a community need and YMCA Shelter House figured out a solution – the creation of Safe Place. Neighborhood businesses and community volunteers stepped up to the plate and designated their business locations as Safe Place sites, creating multiple “front doors” through which youth could access the local shelter program. Who knew this local outreach effort would become such a successful and impactful program and go on to become a nationally recognized prevention and intervention initiative?
How Safe Place works:
- A young person enters a Safe Place location and asks for help.
- The site employee finds a comfortable place for the youth to wait while they call the local Safe Place licensed agency.
- Within 20-30 minutes or less, a Safe Place representative will arrive to talk with the youth and, if necessary, provide transportation to the shelter for counseling, support, a place to stay or other resources.
- Once at the Safe Place agency, counselors meet with the youth and provide support. Family Agency staff makes sure the youth and their families receive the help and professional services they need.
Here are some facts about the national Safe Place program:
- More than 333,000 youth have been connected to safety and support as a result of Safe Place outreach and education.
- Safe Place is managed by 132 licensed Safe Place agencies in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
- Safe Place serves more than 1,400 communities across the country.
- There are more than 19,000 designated Safe Place locations nationwide. Locations include convenience stores, libraries, schools, fire stations, social service agencies, public buses and more.
Did you know there are ways you can get involved right now to help us expand the national safety net for youth? Here’s how:
- Raise Awareness of Safe Place on social media channels. Below are a few sample posts you may share on your Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram to show support for youth safety:
- Sample Facebook Post: [Image of Safe Place sign] Have you ever seen this sign? It’s the universal symbol for youth safety. Safe Place is a national outreach and prevention program for youth in crisis. Businesses and organizations display the Safe Place sign which means any young person can go inside, ask for help, and immediately connect to safety and supportive resources. Learn more and get involved: www.nationalsafeplace.org.
- Sample Twitter Post: @SafePlaceis a national outreach and prevention program for youth. Learn more and get involved: http://bit.ly/1D8CY0z
- Sample Instagram Post: Snap an Instagram photo of the Safe Place sign in your community and share it along with the following post:Have you ever seen this sign? It’s the universal symbol for youth safety. Safe Place is a national outreach and prevention program for youth in crisis. Businesses and organizations display the Safe Place sign which means any young person can go inside, ask for help, and immediately connect to safety and supportive resources. Learn more and get involved: www.nationalsafeplace.org @nspnstagram
- Become a TXT 4 HELP Ambassador. Share information about TXT 4 HELP, a nationwide text-for-support service for youth. How TXT 4 HELP works: Teens simply text the word SAFE and their current location (address, city, state) to 69866 for immediate help. Users will receive information about the closest Safe Place location and / or youth shelter and they will also have the option to text interactively with a professional for more help. It’s quick, easy, safe, and confidential. To learn more about TXT 4 HELP, please visit: http://nationalsafeplace.org/text-4-help/
- Donate to National Safe Place Network. Help us expand the Safe Place program into more communities across the country and connect more youth to supportive resources: http://bit.ly/nspngive
We also offer more advanced opportunities to get involved:
- Volunteer with a local licensed Safe Place agency or a youth service organization in your community. To find a licensed Safe Place agency near you, please visit www.nationalsafeplace.org and choose your state from the “Find a Safe Place” drop down menu. Not in a Safe Place community? Ask us how you can help introduce Safe Place to a youth service organization in your area. You can also make an impact by volunteering for a youth serving agency in your community.
- Help start Safe Place in your community. The implementation and ultimate success of the Safe Place program depends upon support from entire communities – from corporations and government leaders to youth service organizations and individuals. Please contact Susan Harmon, Director of Safe Place National Operations, to learn more about what’s involved in implementing Safe Place in your community. Susan may be reached at 502.635.3660 or email@example.com.
- Become a corporate / individual sponsor of National Safe Place Network. Are you interested in helping advance the Safe Place program through a personal or corporate sponsorship? Sponsorships enable NSPN to positively impact more youth, assist young people with services they need, expand Safe Place into new communities, and ultimately build a stronger safety net for youth. If you’re interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Laurie Jackson, NSPN President/CEO at 502.635.3660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of that is to say – Happy National Safe Place Week, everyone! Your support strengthens the national safety net for youth, and for that we are grateful!