SANTA MARIA — There’s now a second Safe Place for youth-in-crisis in Santa Maria.
Beginning this week, the Boys & Girls Club, 901 N. Railroad Ave., is a designated Safe Place, where those 18 and younger may seek immediate help and resources.
The Safe Place resulted from a partnership among the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department, the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast.
Safe Place is a national outreach and prevention program for youth who are in crisis. It is estimated that more than 1 million youths run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts, and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn.
The Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center, located at 600 S. McClelland St, was inducted into the National Safe Place Network on Jan. 6, 2020. The Santa Maria Fire Department is in the process of designating its five stations as Safe Place sites, which would bring the total number to seven by this spring.
Santa Maria’s Safe Place initiative, operated by the Recreation and Parks Department and Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, is part of a national network of programs in more than 35 states and the District of Columbia. More than 20,000 community businesses and organizations nationwide display the yellow diamond-shaped Safe Place sign.
Youth-in-crisis may text the word “SAFE” to 4-HELP (44357) for the nearest Safe Place location.
For more information, contact the Recreation and Parks Department at 805-925-0951, ext. 2260.
— Gerry Fall