YSI is teaming up with Teva Pharmaceuticals and the Philadelphia Eagles to raise awareness of the urgent problem of youth homelessness and Safe Place’s role in preventing it. Safe Place is a national youth outreach program that provides young people in crisis with easy access to help. Teens in participating cities who are considering running away from home can walk into Safe Place sites (Wal-mart and the YMCA are local examples) and receive timely, compassionate support from employees and Safe Place volunteers.

Safe Place staff and volunteers assist teens in finding youth-serving agencies where they can spend the night, identifying resources that they need, and in working through the conflicts that caused them to leave home. This effort is extremely important, as national agencies estimate that approximately 1.6 to 2.8 million youth run away from home each year.

During National Safe Place Week (March 18 – 24, 2012) Safe Place agencies like YSI will work together with community partners to gain much-needed exposure for Safe Place’s mission of preventing youth homelessness. On Saturday, March 24 YSI will join with Teva and the Eagles to hold a memorable event at our Youth Emergency Service shelter for homeless and runaway teens.

Open to staff, volunteers, and teens affiliated with YSI and local Safe Place partners, the event will feature a keynote address and football demonstration by Eagles players, an appearance by SWOOP (the Eagles mascot), and a spoken word workshop. Teva representatives will be honored for their dedication to keeping youth safe and everyone in attendance will take a group pledge to share the message that Safe Place provides youth in difficult circumstances with caring people and resources that can help them.

We are in need of support for the event, including gift cards of $20 or more for local businesses such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, Regal Entertainment movie theaters, Wawa, and Wal-mart that we can give to the youth and adults who attend. We are also in need of breakfast and lunch; please let us know if you or your organization would like to donate food items or make a monetary contribution that we can use to purchase food.

Please contact Marketing Coordinator Adam Safer at asafer@ysiphila.org or 215-222-3262 x19 if you would like to support the event or have questions about how you can help.

Look out for more information about Safe Place leading up to and during the week of March 18 – 24 on our site, Facebook page, and Twitter feed and please help to create a safer environment for our youth by spreading the word about this vital program.