On any given night in our Metro area, some youth are faced with very difficult decisions. They are decisions that involve making choices to flee abusive situations, to look for stable housing after periods of homelessness, or to escape exploitation. Once the choice is made to remove themselves from these situations, the teens may ask, “What do I do now?”
The answer for many is to seek help at one of our area Safe Place locations.
Safe Place is a national organization that partners with local agencies to create networks of sites where youth in difficult situations can turn for help. Synergy Services has coordinated the Safe Place program in Kansas City for nearly 20 years. Through our partnerships with businesses like QuikTrip, Synergy is able to give youth in crisis (ages 12-18) access to our services throughout the community and 365 days a year.
Synergy also partners with the Kansas City-area YMCA, Overland Park Fire Department, KCK Fire Department, the KCMO Public Libraries, the Mid-Continent Public Libraries, and the KCATA to provide this service.
The sites are all trained by Synergy staff and display the yellow and black Safe Place sign. Synergy is thankful to have so many great partners in our community who want to help youth.
When a youth needs help, they present themselves at the site. The business makes sure the youth is secure and then calls Synergy’s Youth Crisis Hotline Number (816-741-8700). Synergy responds by sending out one of our trained staff that go to the site. One of these staff is available at all times, day and night, to respond to calls.
Upon arrival at the site, the staff meets with the youth to process the situation and helps them determine the next steps. The majority of the youth we serve want to come to our Youth Shelter, Synergy House. The staff are then able to transport the youth to shelter. At that point, Synergy staff make contact with the youth’s guardian and begin to plan on how best to assist the youth and their family.
Occasionally youth who present at Safe Place sites may want to go home, but need someone to assist them in mediating between them and their parents.
Synergy’s Street Outreach and Community Education Teams are present throughout the community talking to youth about the Safe Place program. This past year, the teams presented to more than 8,000 teens and passed out 10,000 resource cards. In 2013, 110 youth were assisted at Safe Place sites in our community. QuikTrip locations were used the most, with 71 of the 110 youth presenting at these sites.
The National Safe Place program is in 38 of the 50 states. Safe Place demonstrates that partnerships between nonprofits, businesses, and other community organizations are an effective way to assist youth in our communities.
For more information about the Safe Place program, contact Chas Marks at 816.505.4817 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Behavioral Health Care