To date, more than 330,000 youth nationwide have been helped at one of the nearly 20,000 Safe Place site locations or received counseling by phone as a result of the Safe Place program. Fresno EOC Sanctuary and Youth Services, in partnership with National Safe Place Network, operates the local Safe Place program maintaining 270 youth-friendly sites for youth ages 12-17 to access immediate help during a time of crisis. March 20-26th is National Safe Place Week which serves to educate the public about Safe Place and inform potential new partners about the benefits of participating as a Safe Place partner in the local community.
To kick off March 20-26 as National Safe Place Week, Fresno EOC Safe Place honored its partners and dedicated a new Safe Place location at the annual breakfast recognition and dedication ceremony. The Safe Place site dedication ceremony followed immediately after the breakfast program. The breakfast and ceremony took place at the Inspiration Park Boys & Girls Club, which was dedicated as the 271st Safe Place site in Fresno County. Guest speakers included Esmeralda Soria, Fresno City Councilmember and Rama Dawar, School Board Member of Central Unified School District.
Councilmember Esmeralda Soria thanked all of the Safe Place partners and mentioned her time as a Fresno EOC commissioner and said how proud she was of all the hard work Fresno EOC continues to do for the community. Rama Dawar from Central Unified spoke about 2 different students who committed suicide recently because they were kicked out from their homes. He described how Safe Place locations can save lives. Both speakers took time out of their speeches to personally thank Joe Martinez, Fresno EOC Safe Place Coordinator, for his passion and perseverance and for being recognized by the National Safe Place network as the longest-serving Safe Place Coordinator in the nation.
Besides naming Inspiration Park Boys & Girls Club as the 271st Safe Place site, numerous awards were given out:
1. Outstanding Community Partner Sponsor – Fresno Unified School District School Psychologists
2. Adult Volunteer of the Year – Marilyn and Karen Jolley
3. Individual Community Partner of the Year – Mary Lou Ramirez, Juvenile Justice Campus Boys and Girls Club
4. Community Site Partner of the Year – City of Fresno PARCS (Parks, Recreation and Community Centers)
Thank you to the staff of Fresno EOC Sanctuary and Youth services for planning the event and the Inspiration Park Boys & Girls Club for hosting the event. It was a wonderful way to kick off National Safe Place week in Fresno!