Safe Place

35th Anniversary of National Safe Place Week

TL; DR: Safe Place is a national program operated in Guilford County where any youth can walk into a building with a yellow sign on it and say, “I need help.” Within an hour a licensed and trained Youth Focus staff member is on site offering free help, shelter and advice. The Safe Place program is one of the only options for local youth who feel they have nowhere to turn that can connect youth with a continuum of services to take care of their immediate and future needs including emergency shelter, maternity housing, alternative schools and foster care.  We need your help publicizing this program so we can help more kids and enlist more Safe Place locations. 

If you’re a member of the media, we have a Program Director and youth who would love to speak with you!  You can check out a video of an amazing young lady we had the pleasure of serving here and email us to set up a time to talk more.

WHAT: 35th Anniversary of National Safe Place Week, March 17-23

WHO: Homeless and At Risk Kids (age 11-17) in Guildford County

WHERE: Free and immediate help at designated “safe” locations

Youth Focus, a Greensboro based non-profit dedicated to helping local youth, is celebrating National Safe Place Week March 17-23.

Safe Place consists of a national network of businesses and community locations, such as fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, fire stations, public buses and libraries, which display the Safe Place sign in their windows. As youth enter the designated Safe Places and ask for help, trained staff members connect them to the appropriate youth shelter for assistance. The Safe Place program, operated locally by Youth Focus, partners with businesses and community organizations such as to provide immediate safety and support for local youth. Local Safe Place locations include multiple fire departments, YMCAs, libraries and government buildings, as well as community businesses like Proehlific Park, Friendly Center, Four Seasons Town Center, Celebration Station and the Greensboro Sportsplex.

It is estimated that more than one million youth run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program and Act Together is one of the only options for local youth who feel they have nowhere to turn.

“The Safe Place program helped more than 250 youth alone last year, and Act Together was able to provide emergency shelter to another 183.  These are local youth, children ages 11-17, with nowhere else to go.   Our network of Safe Place locations provides an invaluable service to these children and the community, and National Safe Place Week is about recognizing the importance of their contributions,” said Jennifer Ravenel Lewis, Executive Director of Youth Focus.

If you’re a member of the media, we have a Program Director and youth who would love to speak with you!  You can check out a video of an amazing young lady we had the pleasure of serving here and email us to set up a time to talk more.

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National Safe Place Week, March 19-25

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) is pleased to announce National Safe Place (NSP) Week, March 19-25, 2017 (#NSPWeek2017). This nationally recognized week shines a spotlight on Safe Place®, an outreach an prevention program for youth in crisis. NSP Week serves to recognize the many valued partners who work together to provide immediate help and safety for all young people. It is a time to acknowledge licensed Safe Place agencies, Safe Place locations and community partners, and volunteers. These individuals and groups are the pillars of strength that support the national safety net for youth. To learn more about #NSPWeek2017, please visit:

What is Safe Place?

Safe Place is a national outreach and prevention program for youth in crisis. Over 20,000 locations across the U.S. display the yellow and black Safe Place sign, the universal symbol of help and safety for all young people. Partnering youth-friendly businesses and community organizations, such as fast food restaurants, convenience stores, fire stations, schools, public transportation vehicles and libraries, connect youth in crisis with the local licensed Safe Place agency. Most licensed Safe Place agencies serve youth between the ages of 12 to 17 years old, although some agencies serve younger and older youth.


Safe Place began as an outreach program of the YMCA Shelter House in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983. Access to emergency counseling and shelter for youth was identified as a community need and the YMCA Shelter House found a way to address this issue with the creation of the Safe Place program.

How Safe Place Works

  1. A young person enters a Safe Place location and asks for help.
  2. The site employee finds a comfortable place for the youth to wait while they call the local Safe Place licensed agency.
  3. 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.
  4.  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.

What is TXT 4 HELP?



A 24-hour, text-for-support service which provides access immediate help and safety for teens. Youth can text the word “SAFE”and their current location (address/city/state) to 69866 and receive a message with the name and address of the closest Safe Place location, as well as the number for the local youth shelter agency. Users also have the option to text interactively with a mental health professional for more help. The service is free, but regular text messaging rates will apply to the user’s phone bill.

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Lost In America

Lost In America is a feature documentary that follows director Rotimi Rainwater’s journey of shining a light on youth homelessness in America. This film takes an all-encompassing look at this pandemic highlighting issues like: human trafficking, the foster care system, youth rejected because of their sexuality, domestic violence, abuse, and more. It also examines what many organizations, politicians and other public figures are doing (or not doing) to help these youth. 

Then moving beyond that – focusing on more than just politics, more than just society’s feelings towards these youth, more than funding and bureaucracy, what lies at the heart of Lost in America is the stories of our YOUTH. These are amazing individuals that are not defined by their circumstance, but are defined by their courage, their resilience, and their desire to grow and succeed.  Their search for love and acceptance,  and need to find their place in this world makes you realize that they are no different from your children. These children who, by a variety of reasons, have found themselves living on the streets and searching for help.

Through Rotimi’s personal connection with these youth, we take an inside look at who they are and what their lives are truly like. We explore the reasons why they ended up on the streets, the issues they face, and the things they have to do to survive. These youth are not outcasts, invisible children that are meant to be forgotten. They are our future, they are our hope, and by illuminating their stories we hope to serve as a catalyst for change, making these youth no longer… Lost in America.

Learn more at

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