Light Rail stations designated as Safe Place for teens

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by azfamily.com

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on September 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:16 AM

PHOENIX – Starting today, each one of the Valley’s 28 Light Rail stations is a designated “Safe Place” for teens in trouble.

Safe Place is a national outreach program designed as a safety net for kids 17 and younger who are in a crisis. It gives them some place to go and somebody to turn to for help. While not a replacement for 911 or emergency services, a Safe Place designation gives hundreds of homeless teens a new option to get help.

"Our nation’s young people deserve safety and shelter and many youth feel that, at home, they don’t have either," reads NationalSafePlace.org. "Thanks to Safe Place, help for teens is never too far away."

Here in the Valley, teens can go to any Safe Place location to get in contact with a Tumbleweed volunteer who helps them find shelter, counseling and family reunification services.

"As a community partner, Valley Metro supports the Safe Place safety net that can positively impact a troubled teen's life," Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta said in a news release. "Light rail stations are a visible part of the community that should be considered a safe area for everyone, but most especially youth in crisis."

"The collaboration with Valley Metro broadens the reach of our Safe Place program, giving us greater access to teens in trouble," Michelle Cerniglia, Safe Place Manager at Tumbleweed, said a in news release. "It also enables us to now provide support throughout the entire day and night."

Valley Metro's Light Rail system will be the second in the country to take part and the first to utilize virtual technology like cameras and emergency call boxes.

Teens can seek help 24 hours a day, seven days a week at any of the 28 Light Rail stations spanning from Mesa to Phoenix. The stations will provide Safe Place access to teens who may not live near a stationary location. Once arriving at the station, teens can follow three simple steps to get help.

  1. Locate the Emergency Call Box on the station platform.
  2. Press the Call Box button and inform the operator that Safe Place assistance is needed.
  3. Follow all instructions until a Valley Metro Supervisor or Safe Place responder arrives.

To learn more about Valley Metro's Safe Place program, go to valleymetro.org/safeplace. For general Safe Place information, visit tumbleweed.org.

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