On Tuesday, January 24 RTD released a new “Safe Place” campaign — a national youth outreach program which provides immediate help for all young people in crisis through a network of Safe Place locations like schools, fire stations, grocery stores and public transit centers.
(Left to right) Linda J. Mascarenas, Executive Director of Family & Youth of San Joaquin and Norman Tuitavuki, RTD Operations Superintendent place the first Safe Place sticker on a bus.
“RTD busses are familiar places where youth are likely to ask for help,” said Norman Tuitavuki, RTD Operations Superintendent.
“Safety in motion is a concept where RTD can provide a resource for youth in crisis through more than 100 moving safe places in the region,” said Tuitavuki.
RTD vehicles operate 17 hours each weekday and 12 hours over the weekend days, in routes throughout San Joaquin County’s region. The RTD fleet will display a distinctive yellow-and-black, “Safe Place” sticker on its buses to alert young adults (ages 12 to 21 years old) that they can board any RTD bus and ask a coach operator for help; the operator will then transport them to the facilities of Family & Youth Services.
“We do have kids in prostitution, kids that live under bridges, kids that commit suicide, kids that need you and us; and, we do have kids that we can prevent from going that direction,” says Linda J. Mascarenas, Executive Director of Family & Youth of SJ.
According to Laurie Brown, RTD Director of Operations, RTD transports and estimate of 65,000 passengers every week, about one third of them are between the ages of 12 and 21 years old.
“The goals of Safe Place mirror very closely RTD goals with regards for safety for youth,” said Brown, “this program allows us to strength our commitment to give back to the community.”
The program has been successful in other cities like Fresno, Sacramento and Santa Clara.RDT plans to outreach to the local school districts to inform the students in the area about the program.