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To Intern, or Not to Intern, That Was the Question

by Sophia Mastropaolo, Marketing and Communications Intern, National Safe Place Network

One month to summer break, I didn’t have an internship or summer job lined up. One week to summer break, I still didn’t have an internship or job. It wasn’t until almost two weeks of summer break had passed that I managed to secure something to do for the summer, a position as a Marketing and Communications Intern with National Safe Place Network.

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LGBTQ+ Homeless Youth

 By Sophia Mastropaolo, Marketing and Communications Intern, National Safe Place Network

 June is a month of celebration for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+), and others community. Celebrating the identity and achievements of the community allows for individuals to feel pride in who they are, during a time they still need to often fight for basic needs and equality. Though this is often a joyous time for the community, it is important to acknowledge troubles that continue to plague many members. One such plague is the rate of homeless youth in the LGBTQ+ community.

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The Truth about Lies

Written by: Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

April 30th is National Honesty Day. Let’s talk about being honest! Ok, that’s a lie. I’d rather talk about lies and why we, especially our young people, lie and what we can do to help.

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Earth Day

Written By: Susan Harmon, Director of National Safe Place Operations

April 22, 2019, is Earth Day.  You’ve probably heard of it, but do you know what it is, and how it came about?  Earth Day began in 1970 at a time of great citizen engagement and call to action.  Individuals were very concerned about the use and misuse of natural resources and the effects on the environment. Gas-guzzling vehicles were the norm, and gas shortages were beginning to become commonplace.  Air and water pollution were in the spotlight, and litter on the roadways was a national eye sore.  Earth Day was one response to this growing crisis.  To learn more about the history of Earth Day, visit https://www.earthday.org/about/the-history-of-earth-day/

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Employee Appreciation

Written by Mark Wolf, Director of Training and Technical Assistance

I was recently made aware “Employee Appreciation Day” is the first Friday of every March.  I was also recently a part of a discussion with runaway and homeless youth (RHY) grantees on staff recruitment and retention challenges. The two, employee appreciation and staff recruitment/retention, are certainly related. We are in a very competitive job market, and RHY programs are not always able to offer comparable wages for staff. This makes it very difficult to recruit and retain good staff.  In addition, youth care work is one of the most demanding fields. Youth care workers are required to have a special set of skills, knowledge, and abilities they need to be able to recognize and assist with challenges youth face.

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: Ways to Combat Boredom

Written by: Eric Peterson, Communications Intern, National Safe Place Network

With how hectic and complex our lives can be on a regular basis, even the basic idea of “free time” can get left behind and covered up as we deal with the various tasks and obligations that take up our waking moments. That said, when we do get time to ourselves, it can sometimes be hard to know what to do with it, and when boredom sets in, it can be hard to free yourself from it.

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Less Than

Written by: Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, National Safe Place Network

Have you ever felt “less than”? It is difficult to explain the feeling but there are times when you can be in a room by yourself and feel “less than”. Your life isn’t what you wanted. You didn’t meet the expectations of others and worse, you didn’t meet the ones you set for yourself. Sometimes you can be on crowded public transportation, face focused outward because looking at the walls of a tunnel are more comforting than looking into the eyes of fellow passengers. The thoughts are persistent – am I “less than” these other passengers because of how I dress, the way I look, the amount of money I have with me, where I am going? Sometimes you can be in a classroom or office and feel secure in who you are and what you know and still feel “less than” your peers or colleagues. Why do they get the interesting opportunities, or feedback, or acceptance?

“Less than” makes people do strange, hurtful, and, sometimes dangerous things. The bully feels “less than” and so will reach out in anger to ensure some sense of control and superiority. The driver with road rage reaches a boiling point and is committed to saying no –  you are in my way, you are slowing me down, you are not better than me – I am not “less than.” The shooter who enters a building and takes the lives of others may even feel that any life, especially his or her own, is not worth living. They may believe there is no value placed on life because lives lived in fear, anger, poverty, mental health crisis, abuse, substance addiction  -  may be perceived as lives of value “less than” others.

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Earth Day: Observations from an Amateur Environmentalist

Written by: Susan Harmon, Director of Safe Place National Operations for National Safe Place Network

I’m an environmentalist, a lover of nature and someone that wants to see our planet beautiful and appropriately protected.  I'm on my patio in an older neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky as I write these words, keenly aware of nature around me. The senses of touch, sight, hearing and smell are stirred as I sit, think, and write.

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November is National Runaway Prevention Month

Written by: Hillary Ladig & Elizabeth Smith Miller, NSPN Communications Team


Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away each year. If all of these young people lived in one city, it would be the fifth largest city in the U.S. These numbers are simply unacceptable, especially when you consider that many of these youth will end up on the streets. They are not bad kids; they are good kids caught up in bad situations. By supporting National Runaway Prevention Month (NRPM), you're showing America's runaway and homeless youth that they are not invisible and they are not alone.

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Then and Now: The Reality of New Beginnings

Then and Now: The Reality of New Beginnings
By: Shauna Stubbs, RHYTTAC Principal Investigator for National Safe Place Network 

Human beings tote baggage around everywhere we go.  Sometimes we hold that heaviness inside and struggle to let it go.  Experiences of disappointment, pain and loss teach us to survive by limiting expectations, eliminating vulnerability, and disconnecting from others.  Other times that baggage gets stuck in the environment around us.  Failing an assignment at school colors a teacher’s perception of a student’s potential.  A mistake at work results in colleagues or supervisors doubting a young person’s reliability.  A common but destructive error in judgment breaks a parent’s trust and makes it difficult for a youth to restore it.

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Being a Veteran in the RHY Field

By: TC Cassidy, MPA, M.Div., CYC-P, Director of Technical Assistance / HTR3 Project Director, RHYTTAC / National Safe Place Network

When I was asked to write this blog as a veteran of the United States military and the RHY field, I struggled to find a balance between recognizing military veterans and recognizing veterans of the RHY field.

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November is National Runaway Prevention Month

As we begin gearing up for the holiday season in November, many of us are prompted to reflect on all the things for which we are thankful. Unfortunately, while many of us will be counting our blessings, an overwhelming number of young people across the country will be trying to figure out where they will be sleeping that night or where they can get their next meal.

To raise the visibility of these young people - runaway, throwaway, homeless, at-risk, or otherwise unstably housed - National Safe Place Network is participating in National Runaway Prevention Month (NRPM) 2015. NRPM is spearheaded each year by the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) and National Network for Youth (NN4Y). The goals of NRPM are two-fold:

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Helpful Resources from Polaris Project

Polaris Project, an organization leading the global fight to end modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors, posted an article on their website intended to help enhance services provided for LGBTQ human trafficking victims.

Breaking Barriers: Improving Services for LGBTQ Human Trafficking Victims

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National Prevention Week: May 17-23

Dear Colleagues,

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Earth Day: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose

I have been recycling for a long time and around our office I’m affectionately known as the “Recycling Queen.” I’m not ashamed to say I occasionally rummage through the garbage when I see recyclable materials in the can. This all started because my neighborhood was part of a pilot recycling project in Louisville and we became fanatics about how to reduce, reuse and repurpose. At home, my husband and I produce less than one bag of trash each week and we even purchased a larger recycling can from the city to pick up each week. We would have even less to throw away if we had a way to easily dispose of or compost organic trash – coffee grounds, old flowers, egg shells and other kitchen garbage.

If you’re not quite into recycling yet, it’s OK – it’s not too late to start! Here are a few recycling and reusing tips I’ve picked up over the years:

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National Child Abuse Prevention Month

It is officially spring and as we look for the familiar colors of yellows, pinks, reds and greens, my mind can’t help but think of other colors. These colors aren’t prevalent during any particular season. They can be seen on any day of the year – no matter where you are in our world. These colors do not bring smiles or joy to hearts looking for something warm after cold winters. These colors do not adorn new outfits worn to church or school or community picnics. These colors aren’t the desired focal points for pictures taken at family gatherings to celebrate the time spent in laughter and love. These colors are black, blue, purple, red – bruises, welts scars – different colors at different stages of healing, disappearing from the surface but only to go deeper into the soul.

As April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month, NSPN joins our other local, state and national partners in calling attention to the ongoing need for all of us to protect children and to work toward addressing the short and long-term consequences of child abuse.

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Don’t be Fooled, NSPN has you Covered

Whether your RHY-funded staff members are attending RHYTTAC conferences and trainings, you are a Safe Place agency getting help locating and recruiting sites, or you are a NSPN member during this hectic grant season, your team at NSPN is here to help – really! This is not a joke.

RHYTTAC Support

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Women’s History Month Recognition: Celebrating Strength, Courage and Positive Self-Esteem

On Thursday, March 12, 2015, the NSPN Communications Team (Elizabeth Smith Miller and Hillary Ladig) hosted RHYTTAC’s weekly-scheduled Talk it Out Thursday call. This week’s topic was, “Women’s History Month Recognition: Celebrating Strength, Courage and Positive Self-Esteem.” Many girls (and boys, for that matter) will enter your program having survived events that can tear anyone’s esteem down. It’s important to recognize low self-esteem and identify what factors that may be causing it. There are many types of issues and many reasons that cause them. There are also many ways to help boost esteem, build courage, and encourage strength.

We have compiled a list of resources related to this topic that we hope you find to be helpful.

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March is Women's History Month

Last year, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation sayingduring Women’s History Month, we recognize the victories, struggles, and stories of the women who have made our country what it is today.'”  Earlier this week, the NSPN team took a moment to reflect on some historical or encouraging women who have made a difference.  Here’s a few of the inspirational quotes shared by the team:

Hillary Ladig shared a Maya Angelou quote:  “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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What’s for Dinner? Group Meal Planning for Youth in Your Programs

On Thursday, February 26, 2015, the NSPN Communications Team (Elizabeth Smith Miller and Hillary Ladig) hosted RHYTTAC’s weekly Talk it Out Thursday discussion based conference call.  The topic… FOOD!  It’s cold outside and many folks are thinking ‪about and eating a lot of it! Why not talk about it? The goal of the topic was to share and hear what others are cooking, ‪life-hacks for the kitchen, recipes, tips and tricks of saving money at the store, and other stomach worthy ideas. We have some resources we put together from the call including some great ideas from RHY Grantees. We hope you find the following information useful. We invite you to join us every Thursday at 1pm ET. No need to sign up!  Just call us at 1-605-475-5950 and enter passcode 4560151# when prompted. Be sure to check your weekly TIOT email for the topic. Check out rhyttac.net to learn more about Talk It Out Thursday. Feel free to connect with us at [email protected] to share your ideas or learn more about NSPN, Safe Place, RHYTTAC, and HTR3!

What’s for Dinner? Group Meal Planning for Youth in Your Programs

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