News and Advocacy Alerts

2016 NSPN Awards 

Youth service professionals, dedicated volunteers, and community organizations constantly work diligently to strengthen youth and families in communities across the country. National Safe Place Network is honored to recognize those making a difference in the lives of youth and families.

NSPN is pleased to recognize the 2016 NSPN Award winners:

Community Involvement Award
The Boys and Girls Club of Fresno County is the recipient of the 2016 Community Involvement Award. The organization has partnered with Fresno EOC Sanctuary and Youth Services for the past 15 years, providing in-kind services estimated at more than $45,000, volunteers and event staff, and free event space. The Boys and Girls Club of Fresno County has been a reliable and strong Safe Place site partner and offer program support by educating young people about Safe Place and promoting the program during National Safe Place Week. To learn more about the Boys and Girls Club of Fresno County, please click here:

Boys and Girls Club of Fresno County, 2016 Community Involvement Award

Executive Leadership Award
Arash Ghafoori, Executive Director of the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY), is the recipient of the 2016 Executive Leadership Award. Arash has been called "an outstanding professional, mentor, teacher, and colleague, but most of all, an excellent leader." NPHY was embroiled in controversy and on the brink of closing when Arash took over as Executive Director. He has since implemented national best practice, improved client-level data systems, and successfully managed the agency budget and provided meaningful service delivery. 

Arash Ghafoori, 2016 Executive Leadership Award

Lifetime Achievement Award
Shirley Caylor, CEO & Co-founder of the Crisis Center, Inc. in Gary, Indiana, is the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. Shirley has worked tirelessly for 45 years to provide needed services to youth and families in Northwest Indiana. She co-founded the Crisis Center, Inc. in 1971, serving as Associate Director for 15 years, Executive Director for 28 years, and has been the CEO for the last two years. Shirley has enhanced the lives of those in need by providing high quality programs for little or no cost to recipients. Learn more about Shirley Caylor at:

Shirley Caylor, 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award

Model Program Award
The Foundation for Youth is the recipient of the 2016 Model Program Award. Through long-established and new community partnerships, Foundation for Youth garnered the commitment of the local mental health agency to answer any Safe Place calls and meet with youth to determine necessary services, case management, and counseling. The organization recruited their Communities that Care business partners to serve as Safe Place sites throughout the community and formed new parterships with city and county govenment departments to support the program. To learn more about Foundation for Youth, please visit:

Foundation for Youth, 2016 Model Program Award

Together We Can Award
Angela Craig, Teen Services Coordinator for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library System, is the recipient of the 2016 Together We Can Award. Angela is an outstanding leader in providing services to teens in the Charlotte community. She creates opportunities with other agencies to connect with the library's teen area and is extremely collaborative with the community's efforts to provide services for the homeless population. Angela played a key role in bringing on all of the library branches as Safe Place partners with the Relatives Inc. 

Angela Craig, 2016 Together We Can Award

Safe Place Coordinator of the Year
Karen Sieve is the 2016 Safe Place Coordinator of the Year. Karen is the Regional Safe Place Program Manager for Youth in Need in St. Charles, Missouri, a role she has held for the past eight years. During her tenure, Karen has worked to quadruple the number of Safe Place sites in the area and has been instrumental in fundraising, student outreach, and media relations efforts. She also values advocacy and empowers youth and families to advocate for themselves. Learn more about Karen Sieve at:

Karen Sieve, 2016 Safe Place Coordinator of the Year

Volunteer of the Year Award
Paul Hamaan, President & CEO of The Night Ministry, is the 2016 Volunteer of the Year. Paul has contributed greatly to his agency and the youth services field. During the past year, he donated his time, expertise, and experience to support NSPN's national conference. Hamaan presented workshops at both Focus 2014 and the 2015 National RHY Grantees Conference, volunteered to facilitate an inspiring keynote youth panel discussion at the conference, and was instrumental in the planning of a pre-conference institute on leadership development. Learn more about Paul Hamaan at:

Paul Hamaan, 2016 NSPN Volunteer of the Year

HEROES for Youth Award
Cyndi Lauper, singer/songwriter and Co-founder of True Colors Fund, is the recipient of the 2016 HEROES for Youth Award. Cyndi has worked tirelessly to increase national awareness and advocate on behalf of homeless LGBT youth. She has dedicated time, energy, and resources to educate, advocate, inspire, and empower individuals and communities to support LGBT youth. Cyndi is an outspoken champion for change and NSPN commends her efforts to end LGBT homelessness in America. To learn more about Cyndi and her work with True Colors Fund, please visit:

Cyndi Lauper, 2016 HEROES for Youth Award


Runaway and Homeless Youth Documentary Screening in St. Pete Beach, Florida

Lost in America is a feature documentary that follows Rotimi Rainwater’s journey to expose the truths about youth homelessness in America. The film takes an all-encompassing look at this pandemic highlight issues like: human trafficking, the foster care system, youth rejected because of their sexuality, domestic violence, abuse, and more. It also examines what many organizations, politicians, and other public figures are doing (or not doing) to help these youth.

The production company will host a public screening of the film on Wednesday, November 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach. The screening will be held in the Tarpon Key / Sawyer Key room just off the Grand Palm Colonnade. 

To learn more about Lost in America, please visit:

Click here to view a teaser of the film:


NSPN Receives Grant from The UPS Foundation

From left to right: Zola Marshall and Rhonda Whitted from UPS's Community Relations Department share the awarded funds with Laurie Jackson, NSPN's President / CEO.

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) received a $22,200 grant from The UPS Foundation to implement the Family Focus Awareness Program which will help create more resilient communities by strengthening families and ensuring the well-being of youth in crisis.

“We are grateful to be selected as a recipient of funding from The UPS Foundation,” said Laurie Jackson, president and chief executive officer of NSPN. “The funds will be used to support the Family Focus Awareness Program which brings together UPS employees and the wider community to help raise awareness of NSPN’s Safe Place program and ensure youth know how to access immediate help in times of crisis.”

The Family Focus Awareness Program will be developed with input from UPS volunteers drawn from the company’s diverse workforce. NSPN will conduct focus groups with UPS employees to gather feedback on the most effective and preferred methods of communicating information about Safe Place with families and youth. The organization will use input from the focus groups to produce a full spectrum of tools and resources to educate youth and adults about Safe Place.

NSPN will execute a replicable Family Focus Awareness Program with families and adults across Greater Louisville and share the program with more than 1,400 Safe Place communities across the country.

“The UPS Foundation is honored to support NSPN’s efforts to supply Safe Place resources to youth and adults, strengthening the national safety net for youth,” said Eduardo Martinez, president of The UPS Foundation and chief diversity and inclusion officer at UPS. “Our goal is to fund powerful programs that make a lasting difference to the global community.”

Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, Ga., The UPS Foundation identifies specific areas where its backing clearly impacts social issues. In support of this strategic approach, The UPS Foundation has identified the following focus areas for giving: volunteerism, diversity, community safety and the environment.

In 2015, UPS and its employees, active and retired, invested more than $110 million in charitable giving around the world. To learn more about The UPS Foundation, visit

About National Safe Place Network
National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. Along with being a leading membership association offering tailored organizational development, training and professional development packages, NSPN also operates the nationally recognized programs Safe Place, HTR3, and the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). To learn more, please visit


A Way Home America: An Unprecedented Group of Stakeholders has Come Together to End Youth Homelessness

A Way Home America (AWHA), a new national initiative to build the movement to prevent and end homelessness among young people, formally launched on June 3. Together we are building on Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. National Safe Place Network is thrilled to be a part of the effort, adding our local knowledge and expertise.  

Youth homelessness remains a persistent challenge for our nation.But we are at a critical time to leverage local, state, and national efforts to end youth homelessness.

Efforts in local communities throughout the country are underway, efforts which often build on decades of experience with young people. The time is also ripe because federal agencies are addressing this issue in greater coordination than in the past and there is increased philanthropic commitment, research focus and public awareness.

The launch of A Way Home America corresponds with the White House Policy Briefing on Ending Youth Homelessness co-hosted by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and the True Colors Fund.

NSPN is a part of this national collaboration because we know that we are jointly responsible and must work together.  AWHA is unique in that it includes the involvement of over 50 different organizations addressing youth homelessness.  Federal partners are engaged and at the table, including the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness which leads the coordinated federal response to homelessness and its member agencies. For more details, please visit

We must work together to leverage this momentum. In the coming year we will:

  • Learn from and authentically engage young people who have experienced homelessness about how to solve the problem.  
  • Identify actions and policies necessary to eliminate youth and young adult homelessness.  We’ll then be able to speak in a collective voice about what is needed.  
  • Accelerate our efforts in local communities by launching 100-Day Challenges that set ambitious goals for housing homeless youth and by sharing successful outcomes for replication nation-wide.
  • Elevate the issue of youth homelessness nationally.  

NSPN wants you to join the effort. Sign up for the A Way Home America newsletter at, join our social networks, connect with us and spread the word.


NSPN Member and Licensed Safe Place Agency, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, Works to End Human Trafficking

Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, Arizona Partnership to End Domestic Trafficking 

How long has your agency provided RHY services?
Tumbleweed has been providing homeless and runaway services since 1974. Tumbleweed was awarded the Demonstration Domestic Trafficking grant on October 1, 2014. The Arizona Partnership to End Domestic Trafficking has been in providing trafficking specific services and community efforts for 15 months. 

Which RHY funded programs do you currently operate?
Our trafficking specific program is funded by the FYSB 2014 Demonstration Grant for Domestic Trafficking. We also have a Basic Center and Transitional Living Program. 

Briefly describe your service area:
Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development work with runaway and homeless youth age 12-25. Our partner agencies provide services for homeless youth and young adults and individuals who have experience trafficking age 18 and older.

What are some of the aspects of your DVHT program that you would highlight as successful?
The Arizona Partnership to End Domestic Trafficking combines three direct service agencies, along with a legal provider and two training and education agencies. The direct services agencies are able to leverage each other’s services if a client might need alternative placements, services and/or access to additional programs one might offer. Within the Partnership, we can follow best practice and keep a trauma-informed lens by being able to share information with the client’s consent to avoid client re-traumatization and provide more streamlined services access agencies. This has been a success that impacts our clients, case managers and improves program development by having a vast understand of our clients’ needs. Another success is our capacity to train, with our trainer Dr. Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, the Arizona Partnership to End Domestic Trafficking has trained 682 professionals and community members in the first year on human trafficking.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as an RHY grantee serving victim-survivors of human trafficking?
Our clients are homeless and extremely vulnerable to traffickers. Our client’s desire to achieve stability; however the process can be lengthy and can face many challenges. Many of our clients are in intimate relationships with their traffickers, experience domestic violence and have years of traumatic experiences that impact their ability to function in traditional educational and vocational programs. For some of our clients, the reliance on supportive services to meet their basic needs have been immense while establishing stability. Finally, the need for counseling services was an initial barrier as many clients do not have health care or even identification making the process complex and often frustrating for clients.  

Please share a short story of success, keeping in mind the confidentiality of all involved:
Sarah* arrived at Tumbleweed’s day resource center in February 2015. She had been trafficked through strip clubs and ended up in Arizona to reconnect with her birth family. She found herself homeless and being exploited. She was able to leave the life of trafficking shortly after being able to get into a shelter for young adults. Sarah has accessed our Learning Center, job skills development programs and regularly attended our Sex Trafficking Awareness and Recovery group while in the shelter. With the assistance of this grant, Sarah’s case manager connected her to our legal provider as she had concerns about warrants for her arrest in other states. With the knowledge provided about her criminal record she is moving forward toward applying for a finger print clearance card. After residing in our shelter for a couple months, she was able to move into her own place with the assistance of our program. In November 2015, she received multiple job offers, has been working full time and is able to pay a portion of her rent and bills.

*Name and some dates where changed

What information or experience would you be willing to share with other grantees?
The Arizona Partnership to End Domestic Trafficking hosted a Trafficking Summit in 2015 and is planning another for 2016; we created supportive materials available for distribution to assist in training and education. We are happy to share our documentation, flyers and program development to agencies!

What information would be helpful for you to receive from other grantees?
We believe it is important to understand other programs developed for trafficking victims, what is going well and obstacles. We would love more information on engaging domestic labor trafficking victims.   

How does your organization address Human Trafficking?
Our case managers are trained on sex and labor trafficking to help identify signs, techniques for engagement and how to assist victims of trafficking. We provide educational materials developed by Arizona State University and the Blue Campaign to agencies in Pima and Maricopa County to distribute. We table at events including victim services, LBGTQ events and host our own Summit to engage the community on learning about human trafficking in our community.

To learn more about Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, please visit:

Contact Name: Melissa Brockie, MSW, Director of Health and Wellness
Phone Number: 602-741-7353
Email: [email protected]

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