UNION PARISH, La. (KTVE/KARD) – The Union Parish Library has joined the Christopher Youth Center’s ‘Safe Place’ program to provide kids of the community with a place to stay in case of an emergency.

The program was designed to help young people with any type of difficult situation. Union Parish Library director, Stephanie Herrmann, says kids and teens should look for the diamond-shaped bright yellow and black ‘Safe Place’ sign and text for help.

“When you look at Ouachita Parish, there are safe locations all over the parish. When you look at Union, you don’t see as many locations. And when a kid needs help, they may not have their own vehicle, they are walking. So, the more locations that are available within the geographic area to help kids, the more they will have the help when they need it.”

Herrmann says kids and teens (under the age of 18) don’t have to define what is worthy of needing help. She says kids can reach out whenever they find themselves in an unsafe situation.

“Whether they might be involved with peer pressure, and they realize that they are very uncomfortable and want to stay away from that. There might be a child predator that is following someone and is making them feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter what it’s for, help should be available here.”

And you will get that immediate help by calling the 24/7 crisis line or ‘texting for help’ with your location and a staff member will respond and will arrive within 30 minutes.

“The actual text message is ‘txt4help.” The toll phone number that they call is 343-teen or 343-8336, and we will also reach a crisis line that can talk to them over the phone.”

Once there, Herrmann says the teen will receive comfort and counseling. Etta Mary Gray, a library visitor, says the library is the only safe area she could think of.

“This is a safe place here. A lot of times I have to bring my granddaughter up here and drop her off and get to the store and get whatever I’m going to get.”

If there are no ‘Safe Places’ in your area, you can still call the crisis line for help at
(318) 345-5556.