Homeless, runaway and abused teens can now connect to life-changing resources on every Valley Metro bus in Maricopa County.
In support of local youth and in partnership with Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, Valley Metro has expanded Safe Place from Light Rail stations to include all 900 buses that serve 100 routes across 512 square miles, according to a press release.
“Valley Metro is part of the fabric of this community, and we have a strong commitment to not only connecting people to their lives, but also creating opportunity and cultivating safe neighborhoods,” said Scott Smith, Valley Metro CEO, in a prepared statement.
“Thanks to the support of our operating partners, the Valley’s most vulnerable teenagers will now be able to access safety, shelter and stability in times of distress.”
Safe Place is a national youth outreach program that supports young people in need of immediate health and safety resources in more than 1,500 communities across the country. It is managed locally by Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development.
“For 40 years, Tumbleweed has provided resources and opportunities for youth in our community who are homeless, abused or traumatized,” said Paula Adkins, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development Interim CEO, in the release. “Valley Metro’s expansion of Safe Place to all local buses will drastically increase our presence in Maricopa County and allow us to reach more youth.”
Decals with the Safe Place yellow and black logo are visible on each bus. In addition to Valley Metro buses and Light Rail stations, Safe Place locations include QuikTrip convenience stores, libraries and fire departments. Eighteen-year-old Vicky R. went to a local QuikTrip to seek safety for herself and her baby from a threatening family situation.
“I am alive today because of Safe Place,” she said in the release.
“With the support of Safe Place and Tumbleweed, I’m back in high school to get my education and I’m gaining valuable financial and life skills, which will help me achieve my goals for my son and me.”
Go to valleymetro.org/safeplace.
The Scottsdale Independent is available for free every Wednesday.