Getting issues to move through the channels of local government can seem like a Sisyphean effort. Last Monday, YouthCare Executive Director Melinda Giovengo thanked the King County Council for teaming up with YouthCare to launch Safe Place, a program to help youth in crisis, within just three months of initial meetings. The program trains local businesses to quickly connect young people in trouble to local agencies like YouthCare. Thanks to the support of the County Council, the willingness of King County Metro, and the speed of National Safe Place, August 31, 2011, marked the launch of the King County Safe Place program, with 1,600 Metro buses serving as the first “safe places” in our community.
Melinda knows first-hand how important community support for youth in trouble is: when she was 15, she ran away from home and ended up on a public bus. Her bus driver recognized her, asked if she needed help, and took her to a safe place: her high school principal’s house. There, she was able to talk with caring adults and ultimately reunite with her family.
Watch her share her story, and her vision for connecting young people with services before they ever need to walk through YouthCare’s doors, here (her testimony begins at 1:04:21).
Nationally, Safe Place is in 1,561 communities and has connected 123,195 young people to help. In King County, Safe Place is a partnership between YouthCare, King County Metro, Friends of Youth, Auburn Youth Resources, and Cocoon House.