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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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National Runaway Prevention Month History


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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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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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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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Awareness about Foster Care isn’t Enough

Written by: Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

May is National Foster Care Month, and the purpose of the month is to “acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policy makers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections.” It’s also a time to “renew commitments to ensure bright futures for more than 440,000 children and youth in foster care.”

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The Truth about Lies

Written by: Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

April 30th is National Honesty Day. Let’s talk about being honest! Ok, that’s a lie. I’d rather talk about lies and why we, especially our young people, lie and what we can do to help.

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Earth Day

Written By: Susan Harmon, Director of National Safe Place Operations

April 22, 2019, is Earth Day.  You’ve probably heard of it, but do you know what it is, and how it came about?  Earth Day began in 1970 at a time of great citizen engagement and call to action.  Individuals were very concerned about the use and misuse of natural resources and the effects on the environment. Gas-guzzling vehicles were the norm, and gas shortages were beginning to become commonplace.  Air and water pollution were in the spotlight, and litter on the roadways was a national eye sore.  Earth Day was one response to this growing crisis.  To learn more about the history of Earth Day, visit

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Black History Month: Remembering The Green Book

Written by: Kim Frierson, Training Specialist, National Safe Place Network

How do we provide support to youth and families and also promote self-sufficiency?  What are the ways that service providers give support?  How do we drive young people to move from ‘surviving to thriving?’ Providing opportunities for success for young people is essential to building their resilience and confidence.  As young people navigate new experiences, service providers look to provide resources that will support their exploration.

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: Ways to Combat Boredom

Written by: Eric Peterson, Communications Intern, National Safe Place Network

With how hectic and complex our lives can be on a regular basis, even the basic idea of “free time” can get left behind and covered up as we deal with the various tasks and obligations that take up our waking moments. That said, when we do get time to ourselves, it can sometimes be hard to know what to do with it, and when boredom sets in, it can be hard to free yourself from it.

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Less Than

Written by: Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, National Safe Place Network

Have you ever felt “less than”? It is difficult to explain the feeling but there are times when you can be in a room by yourself and feel “less than”. Your life isn’t what you wanted. You didn’t meet the expectations of others and worse, you didn’t meet the ones you set for yourself. Sometimes you can be on crowded public transportation, face focused outward because looking at the walls of a tunnel are more comforting than looking into the eyes of fellow passengers. The thoughts are persistent – am I “less than” these other passengers because of how I dress, the way I look, the amount of money I have with me, where I am going? Sometimes you can be in a classroom or office and feel secure in who you are and what you know and still feel “less than” your peers or colleagues. Why do they get the interesting opportunities, or feedback, or acceptance?

“Less than” makes people do strange, hurtful, and, sometimes dangerous things. The bully feels “less than” and so will reach out in anger to ensure some sense of control and superiority. The driver with road rage reaches a boiling point and is committed to saying no –  you are in my way, you are slowing me down, you are not better than me – I am not “less than.” The shooter who enters a building and takes the lives of others may even feel that any life, especially his or her own, is not worth living. They may believe there is no value placed on life because lives lived in fear, anger, poverty, mental health crisis, abuse, substance addiction  -  may be perceived as lives of value “less than” others.

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Making the Best Home for Your Autistic Child

Written by: Paige Johnson,

Every parent wants what’s best for their children. As a parent of an autistic child, you are certainly no different. Having a child with autism presents a set of unique challenges for parents to figure out. Your latest puzzle is your home interior, and now you want to make a few changes to give your child the best home experience they could ever wish for. While no two children on the autism spectrum are alike, there are a few known ways to make your home more autism friendly. Whether you are starting from scratch with a new home or updating your current one, here are three key essentials every parent should know when designing their home.

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Staying Connected and Reaching Out During Summer

Written by: Karen Sieve, Regional Safe Place Manager, Youth in Need

Summer is around the corner.  Memorial Day means public pools are opening, and temperatures are warming up.  Summer is an important time for youth outreach.  Schools, which provide structure and additional supports throughout the fall, winter and spring, are not in session.  Children, teens and those who care about them are looking for fun activities to keep them occupied and out of trouble.  As temperatures heat up, however, many young people opt to stay indoors and find themselves home alone.  This can make outreach a challenge.

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