TULSA - The Tulsa City-County Library System has joined the Safe Place program, providing a haven for youths in crisis.
Library COO Laurie Sundborg tells KRMG the 25 library branches will join more than 200 Safe Place locations already in existence.
They include Youth Services of Tulsa, which began the program, as well as area QuikTrips, police and fire stations, and EMSA ambulances.
The library's 400 employees all received training in the program, Sundborg told KRMG.
A teen who shows up at a Safe Place and asks for help will meet with volunteers for intake and counseling.
The service is free, and designed to help prevent teens from running away from home and ending up on the streets.
According to the national Safe Place program:
• Nearly 2.8 Million youth will run away this year
• 1 in 5 youth run away before turning 18
• Half of those youth will run away two or more times
• Major family conflict is a common reason for runaways
• 50% of runaway youth were asked to leave home by a parent or guardian
• Most common age for runaway youth is 15-17
According to Youth Services of Tulsa, there are 233 Safe Place locations in the Tulsa area:
• QuikTrip stores in the Tulsa metro area
• Fire stations in Bixby, Berryhill, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Keystone, Owasso, Sand Springs, and Skiatook
• Police departments in Broken Arrow and Sand Springs
• MTTA (Tulsa Transit) buses in Bixby, Jenks, Sand Springs, and Tulsa
• EMSA ambulances in Bixby, Jenks, Sand Springs, and Tulsa
• All Tulsa City-County Library locations
March 17-23 is national Safe Place Week.