Coosa Valley Credit Union on Monday dedicated six new sites to the Safe Place Program, which connects youths in need to immediate help and safety, and offers support services to the children and their families.
“We are a community-based credit union, and of course, we are always looking for opportunities to serve the community,” said Coosa Valley Credit Union Marketing Assistant Kaytlin Greenley. “We knew this was something we really, really wanted to get involved in.”
Operating locations in Bartow, Polk and Floyd counties, Coosa Valley Credit Union joins almost 40 other partners in Advocates for Children’s Safe Place Program.
“The Safe Place Program is an innovative outreach program designed to assist youth in crisis situations. The program works by creating a network of ‘Safe Places’ — businesses and public locations that display the sign on their premises. Any youth in trouble can enter the location and ask for help,” Advocates for Children Volunteer Coordinator Marian Barber said. “The employees are trained to provide the youth with a secure place to wait until Flowering Branch Shelter staff responds.”
Greenley said the agreement gave the program an opportunity to grow.
“We realized the need that they had to expand their Safe Place Program into the counties where we have locations,” she said.
“Advocates welcomes having additional avenues for assisting youth here in Bartow, as well as, the counties of Polk and Floyd,” she said.
With the credit union’s facilities operating during normal business hours, instructions will be posted for those seeking assistance afterhours.
“If the site is not open 24/7, a sign is posted with the shelter number to call for help,” Barber explained.
The Safe Place program, began in 1983 by the YMCA of Greater Louisville, is a national operation targeting youth between the ages of 12 and 17, although some agencies serve those younger or older.
According to the National Safe Place program, from 1983 through Dec. 31, more than 137,000 youth have been connected to help through 19,757 Safe Place sites.
There are Safe Place sites in 41 states, with 140 programs operated by youth service agencies.
Advocates for Children provides shelter and services that aid in the treatment, prevention and awareness of child abuse. Advocates is a local nonprofit agency begun in 1983 and whose largest source of support is through donations from the community. Advocates’ Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter provides residential care for up to 12 children and youth at a time.
For more information about Advocates for Children and volunteer opportunities, contact Barber at 770-387-1143 or email Marian@AdvoChild.org.For more on the Safe Place program, visit www.nationalsafeplace.org.