Guaranty is Proud to Offer a Safe Place for Anyone in NeedAs an expecting father I was told that once you’re a parent to one child you’re a parent to all children. While that phrase is a bit of an awkward explanation, what it means is that somehow having a child opens your heart to the joys and sorrows of the experiences of all children. Heart wrenching stories in the media leave me wishing I could open my doors to every child in need, but sadly there are a large number of our youth that need some sort of assistance, or simply a Safe Place.
How it Started
While I wasn’t present thirty five years ago when the Safe Place program was born, the feeling of being a parent to all children and having only so much to give as an individual had to have a big role in its inception. Safe Place is a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people under the age of 18 (up to 21 years of age in some communities) in need of immediate help and safety. As a collaborative community prevention initiative, Safe Place designates businesses and organizations as Safe Place locations, making help readily available to youth in communities across the country.”
A History of Community Support
Guaranty has a long history of supporting organizations that serve the less fortunate in our local communities, like our annual St Vincent De Paul sock drive and our proud association with Bags Of Love. Becoming a Safe Place location is just a natural extension of that commitment to the community, and being able to help at risk youth in the community bears a special significance for our ownership. “As a family business Guaranty is proud to offer a Safe Place for anyone in need of special assistance or shelter from any turmoil.” Shannon Nill, Guaranty Dealer Principle.
Where does a young person look for guidance or comfort when they find themselves in crisis?
This question is exactly why an organization like Safe Place’s existence is so important.
Safe Place locations include: libraries, YMCAs, fire stations, public buses, various businesses, and social service facilities and display the yellow and black Safe Place sign.
Here’s how Safe Place works:
Step One – A young person enters a Safe Place and asks for help.
Step Two – The site employee finds a comfortable place for the youth to wait while they call the licensed Safe Place agency.
Step Three – Within 30 minutes, a qualified Safe Place volunteer or agency staff member will arrive to talk with the youth and, if necessary, provide transportation to the agency.
Step Four – Once at the agency, counselors meet with the youth and provide support. Agency staff makes sure the youth and their families receive the help and professional services they need.
Along with accessing Safe Place in person, youth may also TXT 4 HELP to receive information about the closest Safe Place location and chat with a professional for more help. TXT 4 HELP is a nationwide, 24-hour text-for-support service for youth in crisis.
When a young person uses TXT 4 HELP, they will text SAFE and their current location (address, city, state) to 4HELP (44357) for immediate help.
Within seconds, a message including the closest Safe Place location and contact number for the local youth shelter will be delivered. Youth will then have the option to reply with “2chat” to immediately text with a professional for more help. TXT 4 HELP is *free, quick, easy, safe, and confidential. *Message/data rates apply. *If there is not a Safe Place in your community, TXT 4 HELP will connect you to the closest youth service organization.
A Strong Community
“Communities are made of individuals and families, and the stability of communities is dependent upon strong and stable families. Community problems, including crime, addiction, and discord arise from issues that go deeper than what appears on the surface. Some of the issues communities face begin with youth and family discord and strife. Providing Safe Place as a resource for youth provides a safety net for them, thereby strengthening families and communities.” nationalsafeplace.org.
Through charitable contributions, community involvement, and employing 400 of your friends and neighbors, Guaranty continues to help strengthen our community both economically and socially. We pride our selves on being a family business and on our country hospitality, and while these may be antiquated ideals to some they are what keep us rooted in the community. It may be that a return to these values would go a long way in strengthening all communities. Organizations such as Safe Place are where positive intervention comes from. So the next time you see the yellow and black Safe Place sign; thank that business or library or fire station etc. for their commitment to improving your life through an improved community.