OHIO VALLEY — Young people who find themselves in trouble in southeast Ohio, now have several new places to go for immediate help. Sojourners has recently added 11 new Safe Place sites, bringing the total the organization coordinates to 45 sites in seven counties.
“This week is National Safe Place Week and Sojourners is really pleased to be able to announce so many new sites,” said Shelly Horvath, director of communications for Sojourners. “The success of this program is based totally on our collaboration with the schools, fire stations, organizations, businesses, and libraries who are our integral partners.”
The new sites are Nelsonville Video Plus in Nelsonville; Gallia Academy High School and Middle School, Once Again Consignment Shop, and Silver Screen VII, in Gallipolis; Child Protection Center, Elizabeth’s Hope, IGA-Eastern Avenue, Solace, and Synergy Family Foster Care in Chillicothe; and Gillespies in Huntington Township in Ross County.
Safe Place is a national youth outreach program that educates thousands of young people every year about the dangers of running away or trying to resolve difficult, threatening situations on their own. This easily-replicated initiative involves the whole community to provide safe havens and resources for youth in crisis.
Safe Place creates a network of Safe Place locations — schools, fire stations, libraries, grocery and convenience stores, public transit, YMCAs and other appropriate public buildings — that display the yellow and black diamond-shaped Safe Place sign. These locations extend the doors of the youth service agency or emergency shelter throughout the community. Youth can easily access immediate help wherever they are.
Each year between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away from home. They leave home to escape abuse or neglect, drug or alcohol abuse by family members, or because they’re told to leave. Sometimes, youth feel that they don’t belong, and leaving home is often not a choice they want to make. They often face other difficult issues — problems at home, issues at school, trouble with peers, being locked out of the house, riding with an unsafe driver, or being in a dangerous situation on a date.
No matter what the reason, young people do have a safe alternative. They can go to any designated Safe Place site to get immediate help.
Sojourners Safe Place sites include:
Athens County — Big Mamma’s Burritos (Athens), Donkey Coffee and Expresso (Athens), Goodwill (Athens), Nelsonville Community Center (Nelsonville), Nelsonville Video Plus (Nelsonville), United Campus Ministry (Athens);
Gallia County — Gallia Academy High School (Gallipolis), Gallia Academy Middle School (Gallipolis) and Once Again Consignment Shop (Gallipolis), Silver Screen VII (Gallipolis);
Hocking County — Village Café (Logan), North Fitness Center (Logan);
Jackson County — Brodigans Sporting Goods (Wellston), Launch, Inc. (Jackson), Oak Hill Teen Center (Oak Hill), Under The Oak Tree (Oak Hill), Updraft (Wellston), Video Plus (Wellston), YMCA (Jackson);
Meigs County — Meigs County District Public Libraries in Middleport, Pomeroy, Racine, and Reedsville;
Ross County — Carver Community Center (Chillicothe); Child Protection Center (Chillicothe); Chillicothe Fire Department (Chillicothe); Chillicothe and Ross County Public Libraries in Bainbridge, Chillicothe, Frankfort, Kingston, Richmond Dale, and South Salem; Elizabeth’s Hope (Chillicothe); Gillespies (Huntington Township); IGA-Eastern Avenue (Chillicothe); Solace (Chillicothe); Synergy Family Foster Care (Chillicothe); YMCA (Chillicothe);
Vinton County — Cross Creek (Allensville), Hamden Food Mart (Hamden), McArthur Super Valu (McArthur), Vinton County Sheriff’s Department (McArthur), Vinton Industries (McArthur), Wilkesville Fire Department (Wilkesville).
Sojourners is an asset-based youth development organization serving Appalachian Ohio. A non-profit organization founded early in 1999, Sojourners fosters positive opportunities for children and young adults living in some of the most distressed counties of Appalachia. The organization provides a variety of programs including: foster care and adoption, runaway and homeless youth services, employment training, diploma and GED support, mentoring, leadership training, and service learning opportunities.
To learn more about the Safe Place Program or Sojourners, visit www.sojournerscare.net, Like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @sojoforkids.