Safe Places in North Texas Help Abused, Bullied, Neglected Teens

Safe Places is national network of places designed to help teenagers stay safe when facing issues such as domestic violence, bullying and neglect.

"Abusive homes, sex trafficking, human trafficking. Kids feel unsafe at school sometimes," Landon Cole said.

While a national initiative, Safe Place is active in North Texas.

“Safe Place is a youth runaway prevention program," Tai Green explained.

It is basically a coalition of community members who are dedicated to literally offering a safe place for teens in need.

“We have all these places around the metroplex so that it can be easy access for youth to be able to find a safe place and get that help," Cole said.

Many times the Safe Place is working secretly, but in plain sight. There are 20,000 locations around the nation. In North Texas, those locations range from libraries and fire stations to gas stations and buses.

"If a young person is feeling in danger, they can get on any DART bus in the Dallas Metroplex and say, 'I need help, I need a safe place,'" Green said. “That DART bus driver will contact the supervisor who will meet the bus driver, pick up the child and take the child to the nearest QT [gas station]."

"The Cashier at the QT will contact Jonathan's Place and that will activate us and we will go to wherever they are in the metroplex and make sure that child is OK," Green added.

Those QT employees are equipped to help.

"Upon hire, all of the QT associates are trained to know that this could take place,” Green explained. “They are trained to know who to call or what to say so they collect pertinent information for us when they call us."

For those who live outside of Dallas, help is just a text message away.

"You can text the word ‘SAFE’ in your current location to 69866 and you will receive a text message immediately back telling you were the closest Safe Place location is to you,” Cole said. “You also have the option of talking to a counselor."

The program is intended for ages 13 to 17, but someone who is out of that age range will not be turned away. Organizers say those individuals will be directed to the proper resources.

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