With many local families feeling the stress of the economic pinch, Linda Hilts Lamas, Executive Director of Park Place Outreach, Inc., is expecting the number of teens needing help to increase in the coming months. As a result, Lamas and Park Place staff are reaching out to families who are having teen troubles. "It’s times like this when teens can get out of control," Lamas explains. "Parents are stressed and although teens may think they know all that’s going on, they really don’t. That lack of control can result in family disagreements and possibly a runaway situation."
According to the National Runaway Switchboard, more than 50% of its calls in 2007 came from the teens 15-17 years of age. 75% of its total calls came from females.
Lamas wants the public to know that Park Place doesn’t just help those staying at the shelter. The non-profit also reaches out to families who think a runaway situation is a possibility.
"We help anyone who needs it, but what we really like to do is guide families and help them to avoid having a child runaway," she explains. "It’s a horrible thought to think of a child being out on the street. If home is the safest place they can be, we want to help them and their families to make that happen."
In 2009 Park Place Outreach will celebrate 25 years of service in the local community. The milestone will be celebrated throughout 2009 with a large event planned for the fall.
Park Place Outreach provides emergency shelter and street outreach for adolescents ages 11 through 17 and their families. It is the only agency located within Chatham County that serves youth at no charge who are accepted without a referral to receive help. Park Place Outreach opened in 1984. There are approximately 15-30 youth served each month and about 200 each year. For more information on Park Place, call (912) 234-4048 or log on to www.parkplaceyes.org