COLUMBIA, S.C. (Jan. 4, 2021) At-risk or endangered youth in Columbia will have a safe environment to retreat to, thanks to a partnership between QuikTrip (QT), Palmetto Place Children & Youth Services and National Safe Place.
Four QT stores in Columbia are preparing to open as official Safe Place® locations by the end of January. The locations will be labeled brightly with the signature diamond yellow Safe Place® sign in front of the store.
Safe Place® is a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people in need of immediate help and safety. As a community-based program, Safe Place® designates businesses like QuikTrip stores as Safe Place® locations, making help readily available to youth in communities across the country – including in 12 QT markets.
If a young person needs immediate help, they can depend on any of QT’s four locations in Columbia with the Safe Place® sign for assistance. The youth in crisis can come in off the street and wait in a safe environment for a volunteer from Palmetto Place to connect them with or offer professional help and a place to stay until their situation is resolved.
“QuikTrip has proudly served as a designated Safe Place® partner since 1991, and we are pleased to offer this life-changing service now in Columbia,” said QuikTrip Greenville Division Personnel Manager Young Nguyen. “Palmetto Place is a great agency for us to partner with as their mission aligns with our commitment to providing young people with safe and supportive environments, as well as making Columbia a stronger community for all. We appreciate their partnership.”
Palmetto Place is a group home for children and teens who are experiencing crisis. The organization offers services and housing for youth experiencing homelessness as well as pregnant and parenting teens along with their infants/toddlers in foster care. In 2020, Palmetto Place provided housing and wraparound services to 62 homeless youth ages 16-20. It was also recognized at the international level with international accreditation by Council on Accreditation.
“It is critical for our community to invest in supporting our youth and ensuring they have a safe and nurturing environment to grow up in,” said Jill McHugh, Executive Director of Palmetto Place. “We are grateful for QuikTrip’s partnership as their caring team shares our passion to support youth in need through the national Safe Place®programming.”
QT is a longtime partner of Safe Place®, sharing a vision of safe neighborhoods and communities. Since 1991, QT’s designated Safe Place® sites have been a place for runaway and at-risk youth to come in off the street, receive food and drink, and wait for a volunteer from a Safe Place® agency partner to connect them with professional help. QT provides grants to local Safe Place® agencies, furthering its support of their mission.
“This integral partnership between QuikTrip and Palmetto Place gives youth a chance to seek help that they may not have otherwise had,” said Laurie Jackson, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Safe Place Network. “Unfortunately in today’s world, young people face family problems, homelessness, bullying, neglect, abuse and even human trafficking. Expanding the safety net for youth through this partnership helps combat the growing epidemic of youth homelessness across the Columbia community by giving them access to immediate help and safety.”
QuikTrip Corporation is a privately held company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Founded in 1958, QuikTrip has grown to a more than $11 billion company with 850+ stores in 11 states. QuikTrip gives back to the communities it serves, donating 5% of net profits to charitable organizations in those communities. With 24,000 employees, QuikTrip has consistently been ranked as one of the top convenience store retailers in product quality and friendly service. To find out more about QuikTrip, visit www.quiktrip.com.
About Palmetto Place
Since April of 1977, Palmetto Place has been a home for children and teens who are experiencing crisis. We provide a safe, loving environment where children and youth who have been abused or neglected can heal from the wounds of their trauma. We prepare teens to live independently and help them reach self-sufficiency. In 2016, we expanded our shelter from one house with 20 beds to two houses with more than 50 beds and expanded again in 2019 with a Pregnant and Parenting Teen Program. Here, the state’s most vulnerable children and teens are home.
About National Safe Place Network
National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical assistance to youth and family service organizations across the nation. NSPN operates national recognized programs, including Safe Place®. More than 20,000 businesses and community locations participate as Safe Place sites – such as restaurants, convenience stores, fire stations, public buses, and libraries. These locations display the Safe Place sign and connect youth in crisis with resources and supports. Safe Place also provides a national text-for-support program, TXT4HELP. Teens can text the word “SAFE” to 4HELP (44357) and access options to locate the nearest Safe Place and text one-on-one with a counselor. TXT 4 HELP is available 24/7/365. Learn more about NSPN and Safe Place at www.nspnetwork.org and www.nationalsafeplace.org.