From reports

The YMCA Youth Service Bureau (YSB) announces that the 8th Annual Sip & Support event will be held on Thursday, September 23rd, to raise funds and awareness for the YSB Safe Place program. This year’s event will be held at The Phoenix, 1122 Broadway in Fort Wayne from 5:30pm-7:30pm. Starting Thursday, September 16th, supporters can begin bidding on auction items online or via mobile app.

Safe Place is a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people in need of immediate help and safety. Safe Place designates businesses and organizations as safe locations, making help readily available to youth. Safe Place locations are identified by a yellow and black logo affixed to a building’s side or stickered on a window. Local Safe Place locations include all Fort Wayne-based YMCA’s, the Fort Wayne Police Department, all Fort Wayne fire stations, Boys and Girls Club of Fort Wayne, Bowen Center, Park Center, Urban League, Wellspring, Pizza Hut, Burger Kings and City Life Center on South Calhoun.

Fort Wayne youth who are homeless or have run away, can call a 24-hour crisis line (260.466.7077) or seek out one of 57 safe places across the city for an personal, 20 to 30 minute phone call with a trained volunteer through the Safe Place program from the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne. Safe Place provides referral services and transportation to an emergency shelter.

“Child trafficking is one of the biggest social concerns plaguing runaways,” stated Cameron Shackelford, the YMCA’s Safe Place Coordinator. “Experts have reported that within 48 hours of running away, an adolescent is likely to be approached to participate in prostitution or another form of commercial sexual exploitation,” he added. The Safe Place program aims to protect young people in our community from being taken advantage of when they are vulnerable.

The Premiere Event Sponsor for the 8th year in a row is Mike’s Carwash. For more information on this year’s event visit https://secure.qgiv.com/event/sipandsupport21.