Christopher Youth Center provides continuous training for ‘Safe Place’ program in NELA

Christopher Youth Center provides continuous training for ‘Safe Place’ program in NELA
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 7:50 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 7:51 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A Monroe youth shelter is keeping teens around northeast Louisiana safe while they may be going through a crisis.

The Christopher Youth Center is celebrating National Safe Place Week on March 19 - March 25, 2023.

A ‘Safe Place’ sign can be found at 85 locations throughout NELA. Most are local fire departments, libraries and other area businesses. Executive Director Ella Nimmers of the youth center says they receive an average of 5-10 calls per month from teens that may be victimized, abused or running away from home.

The youth shelter completes yearly ‘Safe Place’ site checks to keep employees properly trained on how to take in a child and to ensure the signage is properly displayed on buildings, says Safe Place Coordinator Michaela Taylor of CYC. According to Administrative Assistant Bronson Moss of the Monroe Fire Department, nine fire stations in the city of Monroe are marked with the sign.

“Here recently, we brushed up on our training on how to mitigate when we have youth come into one of our fire stations, and our firefighters and leadership here at the fire department have been trained and notified on how to handle these situations for troubled youth,” says Moss.

Moss has been with the department for more than 20 years and says they make sure the staff keeps up to date on the youth center’s trainings.

“As people retire - as we get new troops into the fire department, we want to make sure everyone is capable of dealing with these situations when we do have troubled youth show up and know how to handle that - know what to do and what not to do,” says Moss.

During National Safe Place Week, the youth center is encouraging teens and the public to find and know how to get to the buildings designated as a “Safe Place” in their neighborhood. The ‘Safe Place’ locations are available to children ages 11-17.