Bullying & Prevention: What Does it Look Like?

Written by Autumn Sandlin, Communications Manager, National Safe Place Network

The statistics on bullying are staggering. The National Center for Educational Statistics reported in 2016, one out of every five students reported being bullied. If a school has a population of 500 students, for instance, at least 100 of them reported experiencing some form of bullying.

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: What is your favorite Halloween costume you've worn?

October is upon us and that can bring the tricks, treats, and frights! This month we asked our NSPN Family: What is your favorite Halloween costume you’ve worn?

I teamed up with 2 friends in a tribute to the “United States of Tara” television series.  I was Alice, and they were Buck and “T,” each an alternate identity belonging to Toni Collette’s lead character Tara Gregson.  We were absolutely delighted with ourselves but apparently a little ahead of the curve, as no one we encountered that Halloween night was familiar with the show.  If folks haven’t seen it, I highly recommend doing so. – Shauna Brooks, Performance and Evaluation Specialist

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Education and Empowerment

By Michelle Hurley, Program Advocate, National Safe Place Network with contributions from Nigeria Adamson, Youth Advisor, NSPN Youth Advisory Board Collaboration Committee and an unnamed Youth Advisor

Education is a key to empowerment. As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Through education, young people can open the doors to new opportunities – careers, travelling, and meaningful connections with others who share the same interests. However, the most important gift education can bring is a sense of agency, or the power an individual has, through their own thoughts and actions, to shape the world around them.

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: If you were in a band, what kind of music would you play and what would your name be?

The best thing about music is the fact that there is something for everyone to enjoy! With so many different genres and sounds, it’s impossible to meet someone who doesn’t have at least one song they love. Additionally, the kind of music people enjoy can say a lot about them. For this month’s staff question, we asked the NSPN Family: If you were in a band, what kind of music would you play and what would your name be?

Shauna Brooks, Performance and Evaluation Specialist: "My wife is a singer-songwriter.  If we got to make music together, we’d have 2 bands.  The first would have a quiet coffee shop vibe – just the 2 of us singing warm harmonies with an acoustic guitar.  The other would be a collaboration with other musicians - lead guitarist, bass player, and drummer - playing blues and southern rock." 

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Be Kind to Humankind Week

By Shauna Brooks, Performance and Evaluation Specialist, National Safe Place Network

This past weekend, I was moved by the words of Billy Porter’s character, Pray Tell, speaking to his friend Blanca’s brother, “Kindness costs you nothing,” in season 1, episode 5 of Pose.  If you haven’t experienced the show, I encourage you to do so.  I will caution that this show should be viewed by adults only as the content is not appropriate for children. It is nothing short of extraordinary, but not the subject of this writing so I’ll return to the purpose at hand.  What is noteworthy about that particular utterance of the phrase is its distinction from understanding. 

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: What is your favorite memory from your time in school?

As August starts again, a new school year follows shortly behind. Though it’s been some years since, grade school and high school are huge chunks of our lives that began the mold of who we are today. This month, we wanted to reflect on your NSPN Family’s studious times for the back-to-school-season with the question, what is your favorite memory from your time in either grade school or high school?

April Carthorn, NSPN Membership Manager & T/TA: Winning my first crown! I won a popularity contest and was elected Miss 7th Grade. I absolutely loved being a crossing guard too!

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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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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: What Is the Best Thing That Happened to You During This Past Week

July is often a leisurely month with vacations to the beach, cookouts with the family, and more than enough sunshine. Unfortunately for us, work and stress don’t always take vacations. For businesses, any time of the year can mean deadlines, planning, and even more deadlines. For day to day life, it can seem like there’s always something new that needs to get done.

During times like this, it’s important to take a step back and appreciate the silver lining! Seeing the good in just one thing can lead to more positivity in your life, all around. That’s why this month, we asked your NSPN family: What is the best thing that happened to you during this past week? 

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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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I Matter: Struggles and Triumphs with Mental Health

Written by: Autumn Sandlin, Communications Manager, National Safe Place Network

TW: Suicide 

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Awareness about Foster Care isn’t Enough

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

May is National Foster Care Month, and the purpose of the month is to “acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policy makers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections.” It’s also a time to “renew commitments to ensure bright futures for more than 440,000 children and youth in foster care.”

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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

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Tax Tips for 2019

Written by: Shauna Brooks, Performance and Evaluations Specialist

It’s that time again! As you work with youth to develop life skills, here are some ideas and information to help them prepare for tax season. Remember, taxes must be filed and paid by April 15th.

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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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Black History Month: Remembering The Green Book

Written by: Kim Frierson, Training Specialist, National Safe Place Network

How do we provide support to youth and families and also promote self-sufficiency?  What are the ways that service providers give support?  How do we drive young people to move from ‘surviving to thriving?’ Providing opportunities for success for young people is essential to building their resilience and confidence.  As young people navigate new experiences, service providers look to provide resources that will support their exploration.

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

By definition – thankful is easy to understand.  “Thanks” is an expression of gratitude – gratefulness – for something we have or have been given. It seems as if this would be simple and yet for some it is one of the most challenging concepts of all.

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NRPM 2018

National Runaway Prevention Month Begins November 1!


National Runaway Prevention Month is the annual awareness and prevention campaign for runaway and homeless youth issues. Every November, participants across the country host activities and events that amplify the experiences of runaway and homeless youth and the role everyone plays in ending youth homelessness.

Runaway Prevention Month is spearheaded each year by the National Runaway Safeline (NRS), the federally designated communication system for runaway and homeless youth, with the support of the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB).

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Important School Supplies to Remember: Listening & Support

I admit it. I was a runaway. Not in the traditional sense – we all know the statistics and the real stories behind runaway behavior. However, I ran away often. Whenever I was with an older sibling or parent in a store, I would take off when the person was not paying attention, and I would head straight for the school supplies. After a while, they knew where to look, and they would leave me alone to touch the paper, smell the crayons, and to stare in awe at the collection of glue, scissors, pens, and rulers before me. School was a haven. It was a place I could go and not hear fights, not hear cries, and not hear the frustrations that come with trying to raise your children on a week-to-week income with no room for anything but the basics.

I could go to school and learn about new things and different places. I could see other kids and could spot the ones who loved the experience as much as I did. I could also spot the ones who did not. My earliest school memories were tied to a small town filled with traditions and customs. In hindsight, I recognize the stares from those who lived “across the tracks” at my secondhand clothing and the old truck in which my father drove me to school. Those stares were full of unfriendly messages that I did not belong and that I wasn’t good enough. As I got older, I tried to buffer myself against the reaction of others, and I would ask my father to drop me off a little bit away from the school so I could walk and perhaps gain some measure of respect with the others who had earned the right to be one of the walkers. He was sure it was because I must have been embarrassed by the truck. My father was a smart man. He was also sensitive. I got to walk.

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Where to Turn if You're at Risk for Suicide and How to Prevent Future Suicidal Thoughts

Written by: Jennifer Scott, SpiritFinder
Note: Ms. Scott offers a forum where those living with anxiety and depression can discuss their experiences.

hoto Credit: BrookLorin, Pixabay

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