Safe Places

Strategic Initiative: Safe Place Program

Every child needs a safe place with constructive activities.  This gives youth an alternative to street corners, gangs and other harmful environments. A safe place nurtures young people’s skills and interests, enriches their academic performance and gives them opportunities to contribute to their communities.  Young people need structure, and they need to be physically and emotionally safe. Providing safe places and structured activities has many benefits to both young people and society.

PrintWhat is Safe Place?

Safe Place is a national youth outreach program designed to provide access to immediate help and safety for all young people in crisis. More than 20,000 locations across the country extend the doors of the local youth shelter by displaying Safe Place’s recognizable yellow and black diamond-shaped logo. Partnering businesses and community buildings that appeal to youth – such as fast food restaurants, convenience stores, fire stations, schools, public buses and libraries – connect kids looking for help with a local youth service agency. Most Safe Place agencies reach out to youth between the ages of 12 to 17 years old, although some agencies serve older and younger youth.


Project Safe Place began as an outreach program of Shelter House operated by the YMCA of Greater Louisville in 1983. YMCA Shelter House is a short-term residential and counseling center for youth ages 13 to 17. The program began in response to many calls to the shelter from young people who did not have a way to get there. As a result, many youth trying to cope with serious personal or family crisis situations never reached the shelter. To address this issue, Project Safe Place was developed, designating businesses and community buildings as locations where youth could easily access help.

How does Safe Place work?

  • A young person enters a designated Safe Place location (identified by a Safe Place sign or decal) and tells the first available employee that they need help.
  • The employee finds a quiet, comfortable place for the youth to wait while they call the local Safe Place agency.
  • The Safe Place agency calls the location back to identify a trained volunteer who will meet the young person at the Safe Place location.
  • Within 20-30 minutes or less, the Safe Place volunteer or staff member will arrive to talk with the youth and transport them to the agency for counseling, support, a place to stay or other resources.
  • Once at the Safe Place agency, counselors meet with the youth and provide support, resources and help. Family members or guardians are called to ensure them that their child is safe. Agency staff make sure the youth and their families receive the help and professional referrals they need.

Safe Place in Columbia

Safe Place is coordinated locally by the Youth Community Coalition and Rainbow House.  The list below highlights the current Safe Place locations in Columbia.

 Blind Boone Community Center  301 N Providence Road
 Quik Trip  3211 Clark Lane
 Columbia Fire Station #1  201 Orr Street
 Columbia Fire Station #2  1212 West Worley Street
 Columbia Fire Station #3  1000 Ashland Road
 Columbia Fire Station #4  2300 Oakland Gravel Road
 Columbia Fire Station #5  1400 Ballenger Lane
 Columbia Fire Station #6  3112 Chapel Hill Road
 Columbia Fire Station #7  400 Green Meadows Circle
 Columbia Fire Station #8  2301 East Nifong Boulevard
 Columbia Fire Station #9  201 Blueridge Road
 Columbia Housing Authority  201 Switzler St
 Daniel Boone Regional Library  100 West Broadway
 Boone County Health Department  1005 West Worley Street
 Activity & Recreation Center (ARC)  1701 West Ash Street
 Stephens Lake Activity Center  2311 E. Walnut Street
 The Armory  1701 West Ash Street
 Columbia Mall  2300 Bernadette drive
 Family Counseling Center  117 North Garth Avenue
 Rainbow House  1611 Towne Drive
 Voluntary Action Center  403 Vandiver Drive
 Youth Empowerment Zone  1204 Rogers Street
Scott ClaybrookSafe Places