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Safe Place: Someplace to Go...Someone to Help

National Safe Place (NSP) Week 2023 is ending, but the work toward a world where all youth are safe continues on. Licensed Safe Place® entities have worked especially hard this week to promote their respective Safe Place programs. It is heartening to check social media and see the different faces associated with organizations, sites, and volunteers who are so committed to ensuring young people have a safety net in their community. Young people are navigating a world where they may face homelessness, familial abuse, violence, bullying, and more obstacles that can be detrimental. Safe Place ensures that any obstacle, no matter how large, can be overcome with the help and support of others.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Safe Place program. The program began as part of the YMCA Shelter House in Louisville, KY in 1983. I did a quick Google search (something that was not around when Safe Place was started) to see what was popular in 1983. The final episode of M*A*S*H aired and was watched by 125 million people, Cabbage Patch Kids made their debut, and Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi premiered. Compare this to 2023 where the Super Bowl LVII became the third most watch show in television history with 113.1 million viewers – still far less than what the M*A*S*H finale commanded 40 years ago. Avatar: The Way of Water is the highest grossing movie of the year thus far, and toys like Squishmallows have overtaken the popularity of Cabbage Patch Kids. A lot can change in 40 years – and still more can remain the same.

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Celebrating Black Leaders

In this blog, National Safe Place Network highlights just a few of the Black leaders who have made a significant impact on our world and generational efforts with youth and families. NSPN invites you to share your stories of how leaders from the Black community have impacted your community and organization’s services through [email protected] and on social media by tagging us on Facebook (@nspnetwork) and Twitter (@nspntweets) with the hashtag #CelebratingBlackLeaders. All information has been excerpted from public biographies and

Marian Wright Edelman
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The Children’s Defense Fund’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

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The Gifts You Give

by Tammy L. Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer

Are you tired of thinking of gifts? Various faith traditions often include some element of thinking of others and demonstrating some level of appreciation via a gift. Angel trees, toy drives, and stocking stuffers – this is a time so many are thinking about giving and experiencing the stress that comes with these thoughts. Will they like what I picked out? Can I afford what they asked for? How will I explain if I can’t give them what they want?

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NSP Week 2021: How Can You Help?

by Autumn Sandlin-Moore, Operations and Communications Specialist

National Safe Place® (NSP) Week 2021 will take place March 21st – 27th. This week is celebrated annually during the third full week of March and seeks to increase awareness of Safe Place, build community support of Safe Place and licensed partners, and recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses supportive of Safe Place.

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Connecting to Say "Thank You"

by Tammy L. Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer

Recently, on a day like so many other days, I was sitting alone in my home working on the computer and doing my best to meet a multitude of deadlines. I was focused and committed to checking things off the list. And then, the notification bell on my computer sounded, and because I have not yet developed my techno sense, it took me a minute to realize I had received a message through Teams. I glanced at the message and saw what always makes me smile – an indication from a two-year-old child in my life who wanted me to participate in a tea party. Focus now shifted, I pushed away my notes and organizer and answered the message. Sure, completely up for a cup of tea. With a press of a key, I was connected, and I saw eyes lit with excitement, the tiniest of giggles, and our tea party began. Given the developmentally appropriate attention span of a child her age, the tea party did not last long. It ended much sooner than I liked, and yet I recognized something very important happened in the few minutes we were together. We had needs, and we connected to get them met.

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Bullying & Prevention: What Does it Look Like in a Pandemic?

By Autumn Sandlin, Communications Manager

Last October, I wrote about steps schools and parents can take to aid in bullying prevention.  Since then, the ways in which we operate our lives have changed. While it is important to acknowledge the ways in which the previous blog post described school staff and parents address bullying prevention, it would be remiss to acknowledge that things have not changed in the previous year. Yet even with all of these changes, youth are still being subjected to bullying.  

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Achieving "Remote Control"

By Tammy L. Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer

For most of my childhood, remote controls did not exist. I got my steps in by going to the television and pushing the button to select one of the four available channels. There was no mute button – just a dial to turn the volume up or down. Imagine my excitement when our family got our first television with a remote control. By this time, the only ones in the home struggling for control of the television were my father and me. He was a generous soul except when it came to the remote. Regardless of whether it was in the early evening after he came home from work at the factory or on Sunday – the day reserved for church and football – his behavior was consistent. He would sit in his chair and use the remote control to pick a channel. He would then promptly fall asleep. I would wait what seemed to be a reasonable amount of time and then I would gently creep to the television to change the channel. I was strategic, even back then, and I would turn the volume down prior to changing the channel. Well, strategy is only effective in hindsight and mine left a lot to be desired. No matter what I did, dad would arouse from his slumber with a “Hey. I was watching that!” and then he was off to dreamland once more.

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Words of Wisdom and Hope from a Survivor and Advocate

by Michelle Hurley, NSPN Program Advocate, in conversation with Lynn Caffrey, Executive Director of Safe Harbor Youth, Inc.

January is recognized as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month which serves as a time to spread awareness of this horrific crime, celebrate survivors of trafficking, and share appreciation for those creating change. As January ends and February begins, there is still work to be done for youth who are survivors of human trafficking or at risk of exploitation. 

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: What is your favorite holiday movie or special?

Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: What is your favorite holiday movie or special?

There’s a subtle chill in the air and all of the leaves have fallen down. The holidays are approaching and on top of all of the decorating and baking that takes place, there are plenty of tv specials and movies to get you in the holiday spirit. This month we asked your NSPN family: when the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, what is your favorite holiday movie to watch?

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: What is one of your favorite, and one of your least favorite, Thanksgiving dishes?

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means it’s time to put on your loose pants, eat a feast and be grateful for all the different blessings in your life! Although our traditions may differ from family to family, Thanksgiving is often about sharing a meal together. For the month of thankfulness, we wanted to know: what is one of your favorite, and one of your least favorite, dishes?


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Bullying & Prevention: What Does it Look Like?

Written by Autumn Sandlin, Communications Manager, National Safe Place Network

The statistics on bullying are staggering. The National Center for Educational Statistics reported in 2016, one out of every five students reported being bullied. If a school has a population of 500 students, for instance, at least 100 of them reported experiencing some form of bullying.

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: What is your favorite Halloween costume you've worn?

October is upon us and that can bring the tricks, treats, and frights! This month we asked our NSPN Family: What is your favorite Halloween costume you’ve worn?

I teamed up with 2 friends in a tribute to the “United States of Tara” television series.  I was Alice, and they were Buck and “T,” each an alternate identity belonging to Toni Collette’s lead character Tara Gregson.  We were absolutely delighted with ourselves but apparently a little ahead of the curve, as no one we encountered that Halloween night was familiar with the show.  If folks haven’t seen it, I highly recommend doing so. – Shauna Brooks, Performance and Evaluation Specialist

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Education and Empowerment

By Michelle Hurley, Program Advocate, National Safe Place Network with contributions from Nigeria Adamson, Youth Advisor, NSPN Youth Advisory Board Collaboration Committee and an unnamed Youth Advisor

Education is a key to empowerment. As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Through education, young people can open the doors to new opportunities – careers, travelling, and meaningful connections with others who share the same interests. However, the most important gift education can bring is a sense of agency, or the power an individual has, through their own thoughts and actions, to shape the world around them.

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: If you were in a band, what kind of music would you play and what would your name be?

The best thing about music is the fact that there is something for everyone to enjoy! With so many different genres and sounds, it’s impossible to meet someone who doesn’t have at least one song they love. Additionally, the kind of music people enjoy can say a lot about them. For this month’s staff question, we asked the NSPN Family: If you were in a band, what kind of music would you play and what would your name be?

Shauna Brooks, Performance and Evaluation Specialist: "My wife is a singer-songwriter.  If we got to make music together, we’d have 2 bands.  The first would have a quiet coffee shop vibe – just the 2 of us singing warm harmonies with an acoustic guitar.  The other would be a collaboration with other musicians - lead guitarist, bass player, and drummer - playing blues and southern rock." 

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Be Kind to Humankind Week

By Shauna Brooks, Performance and Evaluation Specialist, National Safe Place Network

This past weekend, I was moved by the words of Billy Porter’s character, Pray Tell, speaking to his friend Blanca’s brother, “Kindness costs you nothing,” in season 1, episode 5 of Pose.  If you haven’t experienced the show, I encourage you to do so.  I will caution that this show should be viewed by adults only as the content is not appropriate for children. It is nothing short of extraordinary, but not the subject of this writing so I’ll return to the purpose at hand.  What is noteworthy about that particular utterance of the phrase is its distinction from understanding. 

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: What is your favorite memory from your time in school?

As August starts again, a new school year follows shortly behind. Though it’s been some years since, grade school and high school are huge chunks of our lives that began the mold of who we are today. This month, we wanted to reflect on your NSPN Family’s studious times for the back-to-school-season with the question, what is your favorite memory from your time in either grade school or high school?

April Carthorn, NSPN Membership Manager & T/TA: Winning my first crown! I won a popularity contest and was elected Miss 7th Grade. I absolutely loved being a crossing guard too!

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To Intern, or Not to Intern, That Was the Question

by Sophia Mastropaolo, Marketing and Communications Intern, National Safe Place Network

One month to summer break, I didn’t have an internship or summer job lined up. One week to summer break, I still didn’t have an internship or job. It wasn’t until almost two weeks of summer break had passed that I managed to secure something to do for the summer, a position as a Marketing and Communications Intern with National Safe Place Network.

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: What Is the Best Thing That Happened to You During This Past Week

July is often a leisurely month with vacations to the beach, cookouts with the family, and more than enough sunshine. Unfortunately for us, work and stress don’t always take vacations. For businesses, any time of the year can mean deadlines, planning, and even more deadlines. For day to day life, it can seem like there’s always something new that needs to get done.

During times like this, it’s important to take a step back and appreciate the silver lining! Seeing the good in just one thing can lead to more positivity in your life, all around. That’s why this month, we asked your NSPN family: What is the best thing that happened to you during this past week? 

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LGBTQ+ Homeless Youth

 By Sophia Mastropaolo, Marketing and Communications Intern, National Safe Place Network

 June is a month of celebration for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+), and others community. Celebrating the identity and achievements of the community allows for individuals to feel pride in who they are, during a time they still need to often fight for basic needs and equality. Though this is often a joyous time for the community, it is important to acknowledge troubles that continue to plague many members. One such plague is the rate of homeless youth in the LGBTQ+ community.

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I Matter: Struggles and Triumphs with Mental Health

Written by: Autumn Sandlin, Communications Manager, National Safe Place Network

TW: Suicide 

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