national safe place network

Self-Care: So Who Takes Care of You?

Written by: Mark W. Wolf, Training Director at National Safe Place Network

This is my first attempt at a blog so bear with me.  I volunteered to do this one because the most significant thing I have learned in my nearly 40 year career in the youth work field is the importance of taking care of yourself.

It has always struck me how so many youth care workers, who are superstars at caring for others, fail so miserably at taking care of themselves. The other thing I know to be true is how those most effective in this field care down to their core. That kind of care takes a toll on you emotionally and physically, and often leads to burnout.  If you want to continue to work in the field and be effective you absolutely must make a plan to take care of yourself. Many of us learn to take care of ourselves the hard way and many drop out of the field, unfortunately, because they do not learn in time. Fortunately, self-care can be learned.  With guidance, support, and good role models I learned some things along the way about work and self-care that helped me in my career and life.

Before you can make a self-care plan, there are some things you need to figure out about your work.  You have to examine why you are doing the work you are doing, and who are you doing this work for. It’s ok that we all meet some of our needs through our work, but our work cannot be the sole provider, or even the primary provider.  Remember that in our work we are there to meet other’s needs, not our own.  We need to meet our own needs in our own way, on our own time. Most importantly, we must be realistic in our expectations of how much we can do at one time, it is indeed a marathon. Understand that at best, we are support agents that facilitate change and growth that must be self directed. In the end, hopefully we know and believe we are worthy and deserve to be cared about by ourselves and others.

Once you figure all this out, and it can be complicated and take some significant time and effort unraveling who we are and what we need, you are ready to make a self-care plan.  First, understand that self-care is a bit of a misnomer. Much of self-care is making sure you have people around you that care about you and for you. The self-care part is allowing these others in.  As for a self-care plan, make a list of things you do for yourself that energize and inspire you, make a schedule, and keep it. Develop a support system outside of your work that includes a variety of people and activities. Give yourself permission to make time to play, have fun, and be totally selfish with your time and what you choose to do with it.

I was fortunate to have lots of support, guidance and great role models along the way to help me figure out how to create and maintain balance in my life.  Go out and find the support and guidance and care you need along the way.  You already know this but it is worth saying again – if you don’t take care of you, you won’t be able to help take care of others.

Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: Take a Breather

Written by Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

Sometimes when one hears the word “relax,” it’s followed up with “Relax? Who has time for that?” “If only.” “It must be nice.” “I can’t turn my mind off long enough to relax.” “If I relax, who’s going to do the work, take care of the kids, and so on . . . ?” But did you know relaxing is actually important for your health? Here are “10 Health Benefits of Relaxation” shared by The Huffington Post:

  1. Relaxing protects your heart.
  2. Relaxing lowers your risk of catching a cold.
  3. Relaxing boosts your memory.
  4. Relaxing lowers your risk of stroke.
  5. Relaxing keeps you safe from depression.
  6. Relaxing helps you make better decisions.
  7. Relaxing keeps you slim.
  8. Relaxing eases acne.
  9. Relaxing will keep you in the mood.
  10. Relaxing could slow breast cancer.

Lucky for you (if you’re one who’s guilty of having the thoughts mentioned above), we found “40 Ways to Relax in 5 Minutes or Less.” Some of these suggestions include the following:

  • Nosh on chocolate.
  • Lay your head on a cushion or pillow.
  • Remember to breathe.
  • Rub your feet over a golf ball.
  • Drip cold water on your wrists.
  • Look out the window/find the sun.
  • Stretch.
  • Listen to your favorite song.
  • Sniff citrus.
  • Talk to a friend.
  • and 30 MORE!

We asked your NSPN family this question: “What do you do to relax?” Here’s how they take a breather:

  • Laurie Jackson, President/Chief Executive Officer: “I read cookbooks, novels, etc., and I spend time ‘unplugged.’”
  • Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer: “Read, write, and photography.”
  • Shauna Brooks, Principal Investigator: “To relax, I like to lose myself in a well-written book, movie, or TV show.”
  • April Carthorn, General Specialist: “To relax, I lay on the floor with my dogs, have a beer and a shot of 1800, I listen to music, and people watch.”
  • Sherry Casey, Operations and Administration Manager: “Read or spend time with grandkids.”
  • Zach Elmore, Operations Specialist: “I like socializing after work with friends and family. I find long talks with friends as good for relaxation as any exercise.”
  • Kim Frierson, Training Specialist: “Go to the movies or have a well-made cocktail.”
  • Susan Harmon, Director of Safe Place National Operations: “I guess I relax by watching TV.”
  • Rachel Hurst, Development Associate: “Working out is really stress relieving for me. I read voraciously. I love naps with my puppy!”
  • Hillary Ladig, Communications Coordinator: “Read a book, watch a movie or TV show, or drink a delicious glass of Malbec wine.”
  • Autumn Sandlin, Marketing & Communications Intern: “I’m a big fan of naps! Although, I generally take those out of necessity and not for strict relaxation. When I’m actively trying to relax, I usually put on a tv show that I like and do some sort of face mask.”
  • Sabrina Smith, Development Intern: “When I get too stressed, I like to go outside and hang out with our chickens! They’re always so happy to see me – it’s impossible to be stressed when you’re surrounded by chickens.”
  • Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events: “I feel most relaxed when I’m snuggling with my pugs. Some people get annoyed when their dogs snore, but I find it quite calming. I think it’s because hearing them snore lets me know they are ok.”
  • Eric Tadatada, Technical Assistance Specialist: “I like to read or do crossword puzzles.”

Learn more about your NSPN family at https://nspn.memberclicks.net/our-team.

What do you do to relax? National Relaxation Day is August 15; feel free to share your “goto” relaxation ritual below.  

 

School Supply Donation Drives

Written by Autumn Sandlin, NSPN Marketing & Communications Intern

The end of the summer season is quickly approaching. School will be back in session soon enough, and with that comes supplies. School supplies can be an underlying source of anxiety for youth and their families. While supplies are essential to a student’s education, they can be expensive and cause a strain on families and their budgets. You can help the youth in your programs ease this burden by holding back—to–school donation drives. Not only will these drives help support youth you serve, but they’re also a great way for the community to become involved with your program(s).

Suggested Items for Donation:

  • Loose leaf paper (college & wide-ruled)
  • Spiral notebooks (college & wide-ruled)
  • Binders
  • Number 2 pencils
  • Black & blue ink pens
  • Pocket folders with prongs
  • Highlighters
  • Crayons/colored pencils/markers
  • Construction paper
  • Composition books
  • Index cards
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Glue/Glue sticks

Note: These items can change depending on the age of the youth you serve. This is merely a suggested list

There are different routes you can take with a donation drive; and it will be up to you to assess your program’s needs and determine a best fit. You may want to consider placing donation bins at various locations around your area in order to maximize community involvement on an individual, and business level. There’s also the back-pack option, where volunteers would fill back-packs with the items donated to your program. Some agencies may choose to collect donations by placing bins at local businesses and others may plan a community giving day.

When you have decided on the type of donation drive you’d like to do, get the word out! You can hand out fliers/post them around your community, get the local newspaper to do an article on the donation drive, and/or talk to your local radio station. It’s important to get the word out about your drive, and seeking out platforms that have a larger audience is one of the ways to do it.

You should also set goals for your donation drive. These goals can vary. Whether you’d like to see a certain number of volunteers/businesses get involved, or have a number of donated items you’d like to receive, goals will help you maintain organization and give you a ‘bottom line’ to strive for. Try one of these goal charts to track your status and encourage excitement in your office: (click to download)

backpack drive   supply drive   fundraiser

While paper, pens, and pencils may seem like small, insignificant items; they are the some of the building blocks of education. Your decision to hold a school supply donation drive for youth helps ease the stress and anxiety of the school supply list, and puts the young people you serve on a path to greatness starting at the beginning of the school year.

Valley Metro Designates 900 Buses as Safe Place Locations for Youth

Written by: Hillary Ladig, Communications Coordinator for National Safe Place Network, Media Release written by Ann Glaser, Public Information Specialist, Valley Metro

Safe Place is an outreach and prevention-based program for youth coordinated by licensed agencies in communities across the country. The program relies on community partnerships to strengthen the safety net for youth and to provide designated Safe Place locations where young people can access immediate help and safety. Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, located in Phoenix, Arizona, recently announced an expanded partnership with Valley Metro to add 900 buses to the community’s network of Safe Place locations.

PHOENIX, AZ (November 22, 2016) – As of today, homeless, runaway and abused teens can connect to life-changing resources on every Valley Metro and city of Phoenix bus in Maricopa County. In support of local youth and in partnership with Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, Valley Metro has expanded Safe Place from light rail stations to include all 900 buses that serve 100 routes across 512 square miles.

“Valley Metro is part of the fabric of this community, and we have a strong commitment to not only connecting people to their lives, but also creating opportunity and cultivating safe neighborhoods,” said Scott Smith, Valley Metro CEO. “Thanks to the support of our operating partners, the Valley’s most vulnerable teenagers will now be able to access safety, shelter and stability in times of distress.”

Safe Place is a national youth outreach program that supports young people in need of immediate health and safety resources in more than 1,500 communities across the country.  It is managed locally by Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development.

“For 40 years, Tumbleweed has provided resources and opportunities for youth in our community who are homeless, abused or traumatized,” said Paula Adkins, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development Interim CEO. “Valley Metro’s expansion of Safe Place to all local buses will drastically increase our presence in Maricopa County and allow us to reach more youth.”

Decals with the Safe Place yellow and black logo are visible on each bus. In addition to Valley Metro buses and light rail stations, Safe Place locations include QuikTrip convenience stores, libraries and fire departments. Eighteen year-old Vicky R. went to a local QuikTrip to seek safety for herself and her baby from a threatening family situation.

“I am alive today because of Safe Place,” Vicky reveals. “With the support of Safe Place and Tumbleweed, I’m back in high school to get my education and I’m gaining valuable financial and life skills, which will help me achieve my goals for my son and me.”

Valley Metro’s partnership with Tumbleweed began in 2013 and has continued to grow with the opening of two light rail extensions and the expansion of bus service within Phoenix. To learn more about Safe Place, visit valleymetro.org/safeplace.

safe-place-bus-expansion-group
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix Vice Mayor Kate Gallego and Phoenix Councilmember Laura Pastor along with representatives from Valley Metro, City of Phoenix, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, Transdev, First Transit and Allied Universal.

greg-stanton-tweet Greg Stanton Tweet 2.PNG Valley Metro Tweet.PNG

If you’re interested in becoming a Safe Place location or would like to start the program in your community, please contact Susan Harmon, Director of Safe Place National Operations, at sharmon@nspnetwork.org or 502-635-3660.

Five Tips on Creating an Awareness Campaign

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month is coming up in January. We encourage you to join us throughout January as, together, we can increase awareness of human trafficking and combine our efforts to prevent it. Each week, we’ll highlight and share information on the following topics: About Human Trafficking, Raising Awareness, Human Trafficking Prevention, and Celebrating Survivors. The topics were created to make it easy for YOU to make a difference.

Want to start supporting this campaign before the official start date of January 1, 2016? Join our ThunderClap! ThunderClap is a platform that allows users to flood Facebook, Twitter with a shared message – at the same time. By joining, Thunderclap will automatically post the following message to your page on January 11, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. ET. It’s easy to join.  Just visit http://thndr.me/zDh2DU to schedule your post and join the nation in making some noise on social media to #EndHumanTrafficking.  Thunderclap Message: “I stand against human traffickers. People are not for sale. Together we can #EndHumanTrafficking.”

Watch for details in your email and on social media about how to participate in NSPN’s and FYSB’s #EndHumanTrafficking campaign.

If you’re planning on creating your own awareness campaign for human trafficking or another cause, check out some tips we put together for you. Feel free to share your campaign ideas in the comments below.

NSPN’s top Five Tips on Creating an Awareness Campaign

  1. Make a measureable difference. Don’t start planning until you have determined the specific outcomes you want to meet.  After you determine your outcomes, create a process that is tied to the outcomes. Your process should include lots of creativity and be designed to ignite and capture the emotion of your followers. Help your followers understand the value and purpose and make it easy for them to help you meet your goal(s).
  2. Be prepared to invest. Whether your goal is to raise awareness or raise funds, you need to be prepared to make a large investment to your campaign. Your key investment will be (or should be)… TIME.  The more successful you want your campaign to be, the more time and energy you will need to spend planning and managing it.
  3. Be the expert. Make sure you have done your research. Knowing and being ready to share the facts about your particular cause will make you a credible resource for followers. Followers want to support and be a part of something they feel will make a difference – not something that will fizzle out. If you know and share your expertise, you will help create a larger following which will help expand the reach or breadth of your message. Don’t hesitate to form a committee of experts. Collaborating with experts in the field will also broaden your following. Keep in mind – you should use this expertise to motivate your followers to get involved, share, or participate with other activities designed to help meet your campaign goals. Motivation v/s education will help carry your message further.
  4. Create (and stick to) a promotions timeline. Creating a timeline will help you prepare exactly what you need and when you need it. It will help drive the brainstorming process and creativity. When writing your piece for the website or a social media posting, you may think – “Oh, we should also create and include this type of image with this.” or “We really need to include a resource or article to go along with this message.” Following your timeline will help ensure you have time to prepare a powerful message.
  5. Share your message. Here are some actions you can take to help meet your campaign goals:
    1. Invite others to get involved.  Asking your stakeholders (partners, members, volunteers, etc.) as well as local businesses and organizations to get involved will help increase “man-power” and extend your reach.   Make sure to show your appreciation and support.  Keep in contact with them, encourage them to stay on track with the timeline, and offer them help and support with specific tasks.
    2. Create a website or page on an existing website dedicated to your campaign. Create a space that is a “hub” of information for followers to access and gain knowledge about the cause.  The page should inform what the cause is, how or who it affects, and offer ways followers can help meet your campaign goals.
    3. Get the word out. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Thunderclap, etc.) is a great platform to share your message. Make it easy for your followers by providing post samples they can copy and paste.  Create a hashtag for your campaign. You can also use direct mail, emails, or pass out cards or flyers on the streets of your community. Don’t forget to share your website or page for followers to learn about the cause.
    4. Submit a press release to media outlets (television, radio, newspaper reporters and editors).
    5. Host an event such as a walk, rally, or other event with a large group.
    6. Create and display posters/signs. Yard signs have been a successful option for many campaigns.
    7. Exhibit at or sponsor an event happening during your campaign.

Happy campaigning!