September 12, 2013

Valley Metro makes light rail stations teen safe haven

Phoenix-based Valley Metro partnered with Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development to designate all light rail stations as "Safe Place" locations for teens in distress.

“As a community partner, Valley Metro supports the Safe Place safety net that can positively impact a troubled teen’s life,” said Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta. “Light rail stations are a visible part of the community that should be considered a safe area for everyone, but most especially youth in crisis.”

Safe Place is a national youth outreach program that provides immediate help and safety for teens ages 17 and younger who are in a crisis. Teens can go to any Safe Place location to get in contact with a Tumbleweed volunteer who helps them find shelter, counseling and family reunification services. Valley Metro will officially designate all light rail stations as a Safe Place for teens at a press conference on Sept. 18.

“The collaboration with Valley Metro broadens the reach of our Safe Place program, giving us greater access to teens in trouble,” said Michelle Cerniglia, safe place manager at Tumbleweed. “It also enables us to now provide support throughout the entire day and night.”

Several bus agencies across the country participate in the Safe Place program. Valley Metro’s light rail system will be the second in the country to take part and the first to utilize virtual technology like cameras and emergency call boxes, according to the transit system.

Teens can seek help 24 hours a day, seven days a week at any of the 28 light rail stations spanning from Mesa to Phoenix. The stations will provide Safe Place access to teens that may not live near a stationary location.

Once arriving at the station, teens can follow these steps to get help:

Step 1 – Locate the Emergency Call Box on the station platform.

Step 2 – Press the Call Box button and inform the operator that Safe Place assistance is needed.

Step 3 – Follow all instructions until a Valley Metro Supervisor or Safe Place responder arrives.

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