Safe Place Program Hoping To Increase Awareness

- There is a new sign for kids in trouble to look out for. 

The Safe Place campaign is getting a new logo that will pop up on sites across Monroe County. It is an alert to kids and teens that if they are in trouble, there are places they can go for help- including the Tops store on Mount Read Boulevard. 

"It's something that we are very proud of, and again the training is so important and vital because you are talking about a child who you know is scared," Tops community relations coordinator Kathleen Graim said.

The grocer is one of 300 sites throughout Monroe County with a direct link to the Center for Youth. The center provides shelter and support for teens in trouble. 

"We want people to recognize the sign. We want families to recognize the sign," Executive Director Elaine Spaull said.

The Safe Place Program came to Rochester in 2006. This past year 13 children and teens used it for help. That may be a small number, but advocates say even one makes a difference.

"We had one where a young person was on the bus and had been kicked out by their family and was just riding the bus and didn't know where to go or what to do," counselor Valerie Douglas said.

That bus driver contacted the Center for Youth. Two counselors immediately met the young person and got help for them.

"Other young people drugs and alcohol issues, don't feel safe, their own mental health issues," Douglas said.

City recreational centers and libraries are also safe places.

"It's important for the youth to know that they have a place to go," Monroe County Public Library assistant director David Creek said.

Training is provided for organizations that take part. The Center for Youth welcomes more groups to join. In order to be a safe place, the organization needs to be open for most of the day and have at least two people there. 

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