Children need to know that there are many people they can trust to help them when they feel threatened.

That why the Safe Place program administered by the Pathways Youth Shelter & Family Services is so important.

Pathways oversees the program in Jefferson and Switzerland counties.

Safe Place is a national youth outreach program that educates thousands of young people every year about the dangers of running away or trying to resolve difficult, threatening situations on their own. Safe Place involves the entire community to provide safe havens and resources for youth in crisis.

Safe Place has created a network of locations - youth friendly businesses, schools, fire stations, libraries, and other public buildings that display the distinctive yellow and black Safe Place sign.

These Safe Place sites extend the doors of youth service agencies throughout the community. Youth are easily able to access immediate help wherever they are.

Safe Place provides an alternative solution for youngsters encountering problems at school, at home or in a relationship - from cases of abuse to simply being locked out of their home.

The program should continue to grow with community support.

Troy Hedges, our local Safe Place coordinator, shares the Safe Place story with anyone interested in learning more.

In this era of social media, youth in crisis now can text the word SAFE and their current location to the number 69866 and they will receive an address of the nearest Safe Place location and a phone number to call for help.

Parents should make sure their children know about Safe Place so that if the need should arise, they can act quickly.