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Youth Focus Celebrates National Safe Place Week With Open House and Guest Speaker

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image004GREENSBORO, N.C., – –  Youth Focus, a Greensboro based non-profit dedicated to helping local youth, is celebrating National Safe Place Week, March 19-25, with an Open House on Thurs., Mar. 23 at 5:30 pm at its ACT Together facility, located at 1601 Huffine Mill Road.

Safe Place consists of a national network of businesses and community locations, such as fast-food restaurants, convenience stores, fire stations, public buses and libraries, which display the Safe Place sign in their windows. As youth enter the designated Safe Places and ask for help, trained staff members connect them to the appropriate youth shelter for assistance. The Safe Place program, operated locally by Youth Focus, partners with businesses and community organizations such as to provide immediate safety and support for local youth. Local Safe Place locations include multiple fire departments, YMCAs, libraries and government buildings, as well as community businesses like Proehlific Park and Friendly Center.

During the Open House guest speaker, Luke Stringer, a young man who stayed at Youth Focus’ Act Together emergency shelter facility while in the custody of the Department of Social Services (DDS), will share his story as a testament to the necessity of programs like Safe Place and Act Together.  As a teenager, Luke’s unique circumstances left him homeless, couch surfing and his only option to receive a high school diploma was to enroll in the 9th grade at the age of 17.  Through DDS, Luke came to Act Together and with the help of Youth Focus’ counselors started on the path to his GED.  While at a Youth Focus event, Luke met a volunteer family who ultimately opened their home to Luke when he turned 18. With the help of Youth Focus’ programs Luke was able to get his GED, find a supportive family and successfully transition into adulthood.

It is estimated that more than one million youth like Luke run away from home each year due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts and other issues. The Safe Place program and Act Together is one of the only options for local youth who feel they have nowhere to turn.

“The Safe Place program helped more than 250 youth alone last year, and Act Together was able to provide emergency shelter to another 183.  These are local youth, children ages 11-17, with nowhere else to go.   Our network of Safe Place locations provides an invaluable service to these children and the community, and National Safe Place Week is about recognizing the importance of their contributions,” said Jennifer Ravenel Lewis, Executive Director of Youth Focus.

About Youth Focus – Youth Focus, Inc. is a non-profit agency dedicated to helping Guilford County youth and their families learn to deal with today’s pressures. A powerful collaboration of medical professionals, therapists, administrators and volunteers, Youth Focus offers substance abuse counseling, foster care, young women’s housing, counseling, emergency housing, alternative school and educational groups, some covered by insurance or Medicaid, and others available free of charge.

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