Both National Safe Place (NSP) and National Runaway Safeline (NRS) have a common mission: connecting youth to help and safety, and to teach youth to look for a safe place.
The National Safe Connections collaboration is the result of our organizations joining forces to provide a safety net of services for at-risk youth. We also hope to provide additional awareness of the plight of youth in crisis, and the services available to youth and their families across the country.
When creating the Let’s Talk curriculum it seemed only natural to create a module to highlight this collaboration.
Module 7: National Safe Connections will teach participants about National Safe place as they define what a safe place looks and feels like to them as individuals. The goals include brainstorming stressors that affect youth, what safety means to each individual and learning about National Safe Place and how the program assists youth in crisis across the country.
As we have talked about before, adolescence is a time of change and growth, which can create many choices and stressors for youth.
Each of us deal with stress differently, and everyone has different tolerance to stress and different ways of coping with it. When stressors weigh on us too heavily, we may find ourselves in a crisis situation.
In the first activity, we physically show how stress can weigh on us. Volunteers will hold a laundry basket and each time the group names a stressor, a book is added to the basket. During this time youth also get a chance to talk about what kind of specific stressors runaway youth may face.
The idea is that that these loads can be lightened by accessing help. The help may be informal, like talking with a friend, or reaching out to an agency like National Runaway Safeline or National Safe Place.
It’s important for people to feel safe in their daily lives, but safety can mean different things to different people. For example, one person may feel safe surrounded by people, while that may make others feel anxious or unsafe.
By creating a picture of what a safe place is to them, youth can start to think about what safety means to them individually. This can assist in defining what safety means. What makes this place safe for you? Are there people that make you feel safe?
It also opens up discussion about when they may need to access this safe place and talk about possible safe locations in their community they can reach out to if needed, including Safe Place locations.
Safe Place is a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people in need of immediate help and safety. As a community-based program, Safe Place designates businesses and organizations as Safe Place locations, making help readily available to youth in communities across the country.
Locations include: libraries, YMCA’s, fire stations, public buses, various businesses, and social service facilities. During the final activity, Safe Place Readers Theater, youth can act out what it would be like to go to a safe place and discuss the types of services Safe Place offers.
National Safe Place and the National Runaway Safeline are committed to helping youth feel safe every day. We encourage facilitators and youth to visit nationalsafeplace.org to learn more about the Safe Place program and see if there is a Safe Place location in their community.
To learn more about “Let’s Talk: Runaway Prevention Curriculum,” download a free copy today!