EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: What does it mean to be truly safe?

2013-01-27T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: What does it mean to be truly safe?By Shirley Caylor nwitimes.com
January 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Tragedies like the shootings in schools, movie theaters, factories, post offices, homes and on the streets remind us. We would like to control situations. We would like to eliminate risk. We know it’s impossible to be perfectly safe. But how do we help ourselves be relatively safe?

We want to be protected from physical, psychological, financial and emotional accidents or harm. We want to feel secure in our home, our job, in public and when our kids go to school. We want to be protected against external and internal threats and dangers. We want to be safe.

We know we can’t eliminate all risk. But can we make situations more manageable and less risky? Every day we hear strongly held views. Gun control advocates say one thing. Gun fanciers say another. Both seek safety and protection for people they care about.

At the Crisis Center Inc, we seek safety and protection for kids. The Crisis Center concentrates on providing safety and help to kids who have chosen to leave home in the belief that they can manage the risk on the streets or that it is safer than staying at home.

Kids leave home for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes it is the immaturity of teens who believe nothing bad can happen. But sometimes problems at home are serious. Alcohol or drug problems in their house drive them out. They might escape physical or sexual abuse. Maybe they have been bullied by a household member. Perhaps they've been shunted from one relative or family friend to another and home is “no place.” Maybe they've been told to leave: “If you don’t like it, get out.”

No matter what the reason, once out there, real problems start. Kids are likely to be victimized.

In 1987, the Crisis Center began Safe Place, an outreach program in which public and private cooperation provides multiple doorways and safety sources. Young people can quickly find help by going to a Safe Place site.

Speaking at schools and through our website, we tell thousands of youths about the dangers of running away. But until our streets are perfectly safe, until family problems disappear, until kids don’t have to be afraid at home, there needs to be a way to get help fast.

There are almost 400 businesses, libraries, fire stations, nonprofits and even post offices in Lake and Porter counties displaying Safe Place signs. Kids can walk in and ask for help.

In 2007, we expanded the ability to provide a fast response through the support of area police departments to get kids “Safely Home.” Interested in being a Safe Place site? Call us at (219) 938-7070, and press “3.”

Last year, more than 200 youths received immediate safety, emergency shelter, counseling and other support from the Crisis Center through Safe Place and Safely Home.

Solving problems doesn't happen instantly. But safety can. Thanks to the network of businesses, agencies and law enforcement who care and voluntarily post the Safe Place sign, kids get help fast.

Shirley Caylor is executive director of Crisis Center Inc. The opinions are the writer's.

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