Heart of the Matter

Youth have powerful thoughts, ideas, and stories to share that are worthy our attention. When given the opportunity to engage and express themselves creatively, young people not only enhance themselves but inspire positive change in the world around them. National Safe Place Network's (NSPN) vision is to create a world in which all youth are safe. In order to do so, it's important to provide a platform for youth to share their voices and amplify their challenges, opportunities, hopes, and dreams. NSPN’s “Heart of the Matter” campaign provides a digital canvas for youth to share their stories through art. “Heart of the Matter” emphasizes the creativity, passion, and spirit displayed by youth as they endeavor to overcome obstacles and build their futures.

NSPN invites young people to submit artwork for inclusion in its “Heart of the Matter” digital publication, which will be published online and distributed later this year. Artwork submissions may include the following:

Click here to submit artwork.

The submission deadline is August 31, 2018. This publication is open to all youth including those receiving services, youth advisory board members, peer mentors, and all other youth wanting to make a positive impact in the effort to create a world where all youth are safe. Submitted artwork should “speak” to the challenges youth face and overcome, the dreams which are inspired, and/or the bright futures youth set out to achieve. Artwork will be featured in a number of ways, including on websites, in print and digital newsletters, and more!

Please note: It is recommended that all forms of art submitted for "Heart of the Matter" protect the identity of young people. In the event youth choose to submit photography, videos, and/or other forms of art displaying the identity of themselves or others, written permission from a parent and/or legal guardian for all individuals shown. In addition, a verification process prior to publication is required. Signed document(s) must be submitted at the same time as the submission of the artwork.

If you have questions about "Heart of the Matter" or would like to support the campaign, please contact the NSPN Communications team at 502.635.3660 or [email protected].

History of "Heart of the Matter"

"Heart of the Matter" was born from an idea shared by the national Safe Place® advisory committee in the late 1990’s. The purpose was to have a product that could showcase what Safe Place was, illustrate the importance of the program, and display the passion, creativity, and heart of youth utilizing Safe Place services across the country. National Safe Place published three printed versions of "Heart of the Matter" which included a collection of artwork, poetry, stories, testimonies, and reflections of young people as well as volunteers and staff who had played a part in Safe Place. NSPN is taking this historic piece and re-launching it to include a wider variety of thought-provoking and inspiring pieces of art that extend beyond visual arts and the services of Safe Place.


These pieces were included in the previous edition of "Heart of the Matter," released in 2008.
View the published 2008 "Heart of the Matter" booklet here.