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Harrison’s closer to becoming ‘safe’ for children

Efforts to establish a Safe Place program in Harrison County got a needed boost recently when the members of the 2005 Leadership Harrison County class learned their project had been awarded a grant from the Harrison County Community Foundation. And now the class members, working as the Safe Place Support Council, are encouraging others in the community to join them in their efforts to see the project through.
‘When you look at all the needs of the community, one usually sees loopholes now and again,’ said Kenny Bartley, chairman of the Safe Place Support Council. ‘When you look at the needs of children, the community always finds a way to fill that void.
‘We cannot express our thanks enough to all the wonderful people and leaders within our community ‘ families, friends and the Foundation ‘ who have helped fill the void and bring Safe Place closer to a reality.’
The Foundation, during its most recent grants cycle, committed up to $17,000 in matching funds for the Safe Place project. Members of the Leadership class have raised nearly $12,500 through fund-raising efforts such as a golf scramble, road blocks, contributions from some of Harrison County’s township trustees and soliciting donations.
‘When people and communities come together, prayers are answered,’ Bartley said.

Established in 1983 by the YMCA Shelter House in Louisville, National Safe Place has at least 13,760 sites in 41 states. The sites, designated by a yellow and black emblem of an adult hugging a child, provide access to immediate help and supportive resources for all young people in crisis through a network of sites sustained by qualified agencies, trained volunteers and businesses.

Since its inception, about 80,000 youth, between the ages of 12 and 17, have been served.
Just 10 of Indiana’s 92 counties currently have any designated Safe Place locations. The nearest to Harrison County is the McDonald’s at the Georgetown exit of Interstate 64.
Besides restaurants, other typical Safe Place locations are businesses, YMCAs, schools, hospitals, fire stations and libraries, according to Scott Limeberry, who chairs the outreach committee.
More than 25 businesses and agencies in Harrison County have expressed interest in serving as Safe Place sites, he said.
Anyone interested in helping establish the Safe Place program in Harrison County is invited to attend the next meeting of the Safe Place Support Council which will be Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Harrison County Lifelong Learning center, in the 101 Building west of downtown Corydon. If unable to attend the meeting but interested, contact this writer at the above e-mail address.