Safe Place for Youth provides a safe environment away from the challenges posed by the streets. Our Drop-In services are available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1:00 – 5:00 PM and Monday and Friday by appointment for youth to access life-saving support and critical resources. Healthy meals, clothing and hygiene kits help meet their basic survival needs. Once basic needs are met, they are able to consider the positive sense of community and the opportunities available to rebuild their lives. The Drop-In Center is also where youth access case management, health and wellness clinics, education and employment support, access to phone, internet and mail services, legal assistance and bus tokens.
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On-site services include:
Creative Arts and Mindfulness
The Creative Arts and Mindfulness program gives youth a safe environment for creative expression. In partnership with UCLA’s Creative Minds Project, our Arts and Healing Facilitator leads therapeutic creative sessions three days a week. Expressive groups include painting, drawing, music, clay sculpting, and creative writing. Creative self-expression is a core component of an individual’s social and mental health, and serves as a bridge to other clinical and supportive services.
Safe Place for Youth also works with local yoga studios to provide classes on site every other week, giving youth the opportunity to practice strengthening mind-body connection, deep breathing and physical activity.
Safe Place for Youth recognizes that effective therapeutic programming is best delivered when basic needs of food, shelter and health are first met. Providing food, which is essential to physical and mental well being, is the first step in engaging youth into our continuum of supportive services. Two hot meals are served on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during Drop-In hours. Through the generous donations of community partners and Safe Place for Youth’s incredible volunteers, the youth receive well-balanced, delicious and nutritious meals. Superstar volunteer Sally Paquette works with neighboring churches and synagogues, local businesses, corporations and caring community members to prepare and serve all the food. In 2015, close to 10,000 meals were served to our youth at Safe Place for Youth.
For homeless youth, a new, clean outfit can contribute to better health, higher self esteem, and have a significant increase in the opportunities that lead to getting off the streets. Sparkle’s Closet is a space for youth to get a clean, new outfit during Drop-In hours. Paired with our Education and Employment program, the clothing closet is also a place where youth can receive interview appropriate outfits . In addition to receiving gently used clothing donations from individuals in the local community, SPY receives generous donations of new clothing from Forever 21 and American Apparel.
Homeless youth often receive citations for blocking sidewalks, sleeping outside, or smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol – all behaviors that people with a home take for granted. These youth do not have the resources to get to court, let alone pay the fines, so many accumulate failures to appear and bench warrants for their arrest. These tickets not only prevent youth from seeking the protection of law enforcement, but also make it extremely difficult for them to enroll in school, find employment, or gain housing. In partnership with Public Counsel, Safe Place for Youth’s Legal Clinic provides advice and referrals for many types of legal matters, specializing in helping youth clear tickets and warrants and apply for/maintain life-saving benefits. In the first six months of service, the Legal Clinic has provided dozens of legal consultations and helped youth clear $14,546 in ticket debt.
Many of the youth SPY works with have not had a hot shower in some time. Safe Place for Youth provides clean clothes, a full set of personal hygiene products, and a hot shower. Snapchat has generously sponsored the redesign of S.P.Y. bathrooms to allow us to offer showers to our youth. The new bathrooms meet ADA standards to ensure easy wheelchair access and provide a safe space for youth to shower.
Vet Clinic & Animal Care
Animals are important to our youth-- homelessness can be isolating and animals provide companionship, safety and warmth on a cold night. Our Drop-In Center is pet friendly and we provide food and supplies for our youth’s animals. Safe Place for Youth also partners with Marina del Rey’s Animal Wellness Center to provide monthly onsite veterinary services including emergency medical evaluations, wound care, vaccinations, nail trim, oral hygiene, de-worming, skin scrapes, eye evaluations, urine/fecal testing, antibiotics and medications.