Hele-On partners with the Salvation Army to keep youth safe

The County of Hawaiʻi Mass Transit Agency (MTA), in partnership with National Safe Place Network (NSPN), is expanding the Safe Place to include The Salvation Army Family Intervention Services, increasing the number of Safe Place sites for youth in crisis on Hawaiʻi Island. As a newly designated Safe Place, Salvation Army Family Intervention Services will display the yellow and black Safe Place sign, which signifies immediate help and safety for youth. These signs are also installed on all 55 Hele-On buses operating across the island.

“Ensuring our keiki have places where they can feel safe and protected is integral to a sustainable Hawaiʻi Island where our keiki can thrive and succeed for generations,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “That’s why we made our buses safe places and why we’re proud to partner with organizations islandwide that have a proven track record of providing critical services for our community. Our partnership with The Salvation Army Family Intervention Services exemplifies that.”

Over 1.5 million youth run away from home yearly due to abuse, neglect, family conflicts, and other issues. The Safe Place program is an option for young people who feel they have nowhere to turn.

Hawaiʻi County’s Safe Place initiative, operated by the County of Hawaiʻi Mass Transit Agency, is part of a national network of Safe Place programs in 38 states. Over 20,000 community businesses and organizations nationwide display the Safe Place sign, making help readily available for youth in need.

Residents can find these Safe Place locations in Hawaiʻi County at:

  • On all Hele-On buses, islandwide
  • The Salvation Army Family Intervention Services, 1786 Kinoole Street, Hilo
  • Mo’oheau Bus Terminal, 329 Kamehameha Avenue, Hilo
  • West Hawai’i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Bldg. D, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
  • Mass Transit Agency Baseyard, 2299 Ho’olaulima Road, Hilo, HI 96720

“This partnership is important to us because safety is a key part of our mission in our service to the keiki of our island and we are dedicated to be a resource for those in need,” said John Andoh, Mass Transit Administrator & General Manager. “Providing a safe, secure haven for our vulnerable youth is something that we feel called to do and in joining forces with NSPN, The Salvation Army Family Intervention Services, we join more than 12,000 other transit/mobile locations nationally.”

“The Salvation Army, Family Intervention Services’ mission is to provide youth with skills for a healthy lifestyle and instill purpose, hope, and vision to youth and their families. We are excited to partner with Hele-On and Hope Services to help our keiki find a safe place to live in while we assist them with finding other resources in the community that may be beneficial for the youth and their families,” said Roxanne Costa, Executive Director of The Salvation Army Family Intervention Services.

For Safe Place and Hele-On information, call (808) 961-8744 or visit www.heleonbus.org.