National Safe Place Week kicks off on Monday

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

National Safe Place Week will begin Monday with daily events to raise awareness of Safe Place and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program at Sally Kate Winters.
Sally Kate Winters Family Services Outreach Coordinator Heather Usry said Safe Place Week is a week that was coordinated with National Safe Place Network to promote the Runaway and Homeless Youth Program for children ages 12-17.
Usry said Safe Place provides locations within the community, such as the library and fire department, where runaway or homeless youth can go and then they are directly connected to the services available at Sally Kate Winters. She said there were sites throughout the Golden Triangle and north Mississippi.
“We can then help by providing personal items, shelter, counseling and other resources,” she said.
She said Safe Places are marked by a yellow sign out front, and the employees of that place are trained to know what to do if a child comes in needing help.
Monday will be “Make Some Noise Monday”, and students at West Point High School will simultaneously pop Safe Place balloons at 1 p.m.
Tuesday will be “Tell All Tuesday”, and Sally Kate Winters will coordinate with all local news outlets to spread the word about Safe Place.
Wednesday will be “We Stand Together Wednesday”, Sally Kate Winters employees will visit schools and distribute information to students, teachers and school counselors.
Thursday will be “TXT 4 HELP Thursday”, and residential youth in the Sally Kate Winters shelter will participate in a presentation and scavenger hunt activity.
Usry said TXT 4 HELP was a service to help at-risk children find a Safe Place by texting “safe” and their location to 69866.
Friday will be “Friends of Safe Place Friday”, and a fundraiser and awareness event will take place from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Bully’s Burgers and Wings in Starkville.
Saturday will be “Safe Place Site Visit Saturday”, and volunteers will meet at Sally Kate Winters Park at 8:30 a.m. to install a Safe Place Banner and pinwheel garden.
“Homelessness isn’t always someone living under a bridge like you see in movies,” Usry said. “We want to raise awareness of this issue and let kids know they have a safe place to go. It happens as much here as in urban areas.”