Program Offers Safe Place for Neglected Youth

By: Erika Tallan
By: Erika Tallan

You can see bright yellow signs with the words SAFE PLACE written in bold lettering displayed on businesses across Lincoln. Fifty businesses in the Capital City are part of the "Safe Place" program where young people go to get help.

"A kid gets in trouble, could be bad day, could be bullying, could be homeless could be any number of things. They go to a safe place site we come get them to the right resources that they need," said Pastor Tom Barber with People's City Mission.

Nationally, since the first of the month, Safe Place connected 137,065 youths to the right resources.
People's City Mission is Lincoln's lead agency for the safe place program.

"It might be as simple as calling mom and dad or federal agencies," Barber added.

The program has been in Lincoln for a little more than a year.
The latest addition is State Senator Amanda McGill's office in the Capitol Building.
She sees it as both accessible and educational.

"Almost every 4th grade class in the state comes through here. We can get their teachers to pass my office and say kids this is a safe place this is what the sign looks like," said McGill.

Lincoln Public Schools is a close Safe Place partner.
Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel says last year, 500 homeless kids enrolled in LPS, there's a few hundred this year and in the last few months, he's heard reports of 2 dozen runaways at least.

"If the community doesn't have this kind of support, these kids won't be as successful in school or in life," Dr. Steve Joel said.

Eventually he'd like to see the city blanketed in the yellow signs.


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