Editor’s Note: This article stemmed from a health class assignment at Boulder Creek High School in which Caley, a freshman, was to research a charitable organization.
By Caley Benson — I am passionate about the health and wellbeing of teens, so I asked a family friend, Phoenix Police Officer Michael Davidson, if he was aware of any facilities that advocate, protect, or otherwise help teenagers in need. For context, I come from a loving and supportive home and believe others should have similar experiences with their families. Davidson connected me with the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development.
Kaelyn Kirkpatrick and Cindy Flores, Tumbleweed’s Safe Place Coordinators, explained that Tumbleweed is part of Arizona’s Safe Place initiative, which is designed to help teens who’ve experienced some form of domestic violence, neglect, or homelessness. Tumbleweed’s goal is to provide children ages 12-17 immediate assistance with shelter and counseling, to offer preventative and crisis intervention programs, and ultimately family reunification services.
Tumbleweed is “pretty much the only organization in Maricopa County that does what [they] do,” Kirkpatrick said. Services are also available to 18-24 year olds on a case-by-case basis.
Both boys and girls can be affected by domestic violence, neglect, or homelessness. Tumbleweed’s passionate staff wants kids to know that Safe Place locations are available all around Maricopa County. To communicate with Tumbleweed or to find the closest Safe Place location, please text “Safe” and their current location to 69866 or call 602-841-5799. Tumbleweed is a 501(c)3 organization and can accept board games, movies, clothing, or other needed items for use in the homes they’ve established.