Plenty of ‘Safe Places’ in South Shore region
March 9, 2006
National Safe Place Week, which is March 12 to 16, brings awareness to what Safe Place is and what Safe Place does.
Tahoe Youth & Family Services sponsors Safe Place in our community. The agency has more than 70 businesses and organizations that are Safe Places in South Lake Tahoe. They are in the process of building a community that cares for our youth, who are our future leaders.
Safe Place is in more than 700 communities in 41 states. Safe Place has helped 87,000 young people in crisis nationwide. In South Lake Tahoe youth who are in crisis due to negative influences such as child abuse, substance abuse and crime, need to have resources readily available to assist them when faced with circumstances that compromise their safety. Many of the youth in the community couch surf. That is to say they go from couch to couch of friends and relatives when things get tough. This can last only so long. Some stay in motel rooms with older adults, where they become incredibly vulnerable.
The youth of this community know about Safe Place through school presentations and the Tahoe Youth & Family Services, Outreach Team, which is comprised of youth passing out information at the casino arcades where the youth of the community hang out. The Outreach team also goes to most community events where they can tell parents and young children about Safe Place.
Any youth can go to a business or organization that displays a Safe Place sign in their window and ask for help. The employees of that business have been trained to keep everything confidential and to call Tahoe Youth & Family Services 24 hours a day. They will respond within 30 minutes to come and counsel the youth. In extreme circumstances they will provide shelter, but often they will find a friend or relative to keep the youth for the night. This is with the parents permission. TYFS will then get the youth and family in for counseling ASAP. In the near future TYFS will have a building to house a shelter for these youth.
Youth and parents will often call the TYFS Safe Place crisis line at (800) 870-8937 before it comes to this. They have trained counselors available 24 hours a day to help both the youth and parents deal with this crisis before the youth gets to the point of running away.
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To commemorate Safe Place Week TYFS and the South Tahoe Fire Department will co-sponsor a Safe Place Recognition Event Wednesday to honor all of the South Lake Tahoe Safe Places. This event will also bring awareness to the realities runaway youth face in our community. The fire department is co-sponsoring this event as they were the first to sign up to be a Safe Place and have been ardent supporters of this project.
If you wish to be a Safe Place call (530) 541-2445, Ext. 105 to set up a 15-minute training.
SAFE PLACE SITES
AAA, Area 50 Laser Tag, Avant Gard’n, Blue Lake Akido, Bookworks, South Lake Tahoe Boys and Girls Club, Bruce Cable, CPA, CC’s Pirate Treasurers, Chevron, Choices for Children, El Dorado County Library, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, Evolution Tanning, Foster Family Services, Goodfellas Pizza, Job-One/Golden Sierra, Kahle Community Center, La Mexicana, Lake Tahoe Child Development Center, Lake Tahoe Community College, lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, Lake Valley Fire District, Liras Supermarket, Los Mexicanos, Mary’s Drapery, McDonald’s, Melinda Choy, acupuncturist, Meyers Movies, New York Pizza, Neighbors Bookstore, Nikki’s Chaat Café, Plaza Tapatia, Powder House, Round Table Pizza, Safeway, Side Street Boutique, Sierra Ski & Cycle Works, Skatin’ Worshippers, Sno-Flake Drive In, South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, South Lake Tahoe Recreation Complex, South Tahoe High School, South Tahoe Middle School, Tahoe Bowl, Tahoe Daily Tribune, Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters, Tahoe Gymnastic, Tahoe Sports Ltd., Tahoe Valley Elementary School, South Lake Tahoe Women’s Center, Tahoe Youth & Family Services, Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce, Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District, The Design Shoppe, The Dollar Queen, Video Library and Village Mountain Surf & Sports.