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Published on February 13th, 2021 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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National Safe Place Network Welcomes The COMET’s Executive Director/CEO to its Advisory Board

NSPN and The COMET Expand Partnership to Help Keep Youth Safe

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – National Safe Place Network (NSPN) and The Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET) have expanded their partnership by welcoming John C. Andoh to its national advisory board. Andoh, The COMET’s executive director / chief executive officer (CEO), serves as one of twenty representatives to the board and will share his expertise regarding social service and transit partnerships. In January 2020, NSPN announced their partnership with The COMET who initiated efforts to bring Safe Place® services to youth in the Greater Columbia area. The COMET is the first independently licensed national transit partner, putting youth in need aboard COMET vehicles in contact with resources or organizations necessary to bring them out of crisis. In January 2021, QuikTrip (QT) announced its partnership with Palmetto Place Children and Youth Services to operate a shelter-based licensed Safe Place program and begin opening Safe Place locations.

“Unfortunately, in today’s world, young people face family problems, homelessness, bullying, neglect, abuse, and even human trafficking,” said Laurie Jackson, president and CEO of NSPN. “Contributions from community representatives such as John’s, is critical to achieving NSPN’s vision of a world where all youth are safe.”

“I am delighted to serve and further support this partnership. The collaboration is important to us because safety is a key part of our mission in our service to the people of the Midlands and we are dedicated to be a resource for those in need,” said Andoh. “Providing a safe, secure haven for our vulnerable youth is something that we feel called to do and in joining forces with NSPN, we join more than 12,000 other transit/mobile locations nationally.”

Efforts to keep youth safe in the Greater Columbia area have been strengthened by national and community partnerships with public and private sectors including The COMET, QT, Palmetto Place Children and Youth Services, and others. About National Safe Place Network National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training, capacity building, and technical support to youth and family service organizations across the nation. NSPN operates nationally-recognized programs, including Safe Place®. More than 20,000 businesses and community locations participate as Safe Place sites – such as restaurants, convenience stores, fire stations, public buses, and libraries. These locations display the Safe Place sign and connect youth in crisis with resources and supports. Safe Place also provides a national text-for-support program, TXT4HELP. Teens can text the word “SAFE” to 4HELP (44357) and access options to locate the nearest Safe Place and text one-on-one with a counselor. TXT 4 HELP is available 24/7/365. Learn more about NSPN and Safe Place at www.nspnetwork.org and www.nationalsafeplace.org.

About The COMET The COMET is a service of the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority and provides countywide public transit services on 34 fixed routes, five ReFlex services, vanpool service for commuters, subsidy programs with Uber and Lyft and DART for transportation to grocery stores and at night, ADA complementary paratransit service throughout Richland and eastern Lexington Counties and eight Blue Bike bikeshare stations in Downtown Columbia. The COMET transports approximately 2.8 million passenger trips a year on a fleet of more than 80 buses, vans and trolleys. Transit services are provided under contract with RATP Dev USA, Enterprise Holdings, Lyft, Uber and Bewegen. For additional The COMET information, please call (803) 255-7100, TDD/TTY: 711 through the relay service, email: info@catchthecomet.org or visit www.catchthecomet.org. Catch The COMET…We Will Take You There!

About QuikTrip

QuikTrip Corporation is a privately held company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Founded in 1958, QuikTrip has grown to a more than $11 billion company with 830+ stores in 11 states. QuikTrip gives back to the communities it serves, donating 5% of net profits to charitable organizations in those communities. With 22,500 employees, QuikTrip has consistently been ranked as one of the top convenience store marketers in product quality and friendly service. To find out more about QuikTrip, visit www.quiktrip.com.

About Palmetto Place

Since April of 1977, Palmetto Place has been a home for children and teens who are experiencing crisis. Palmetto Place provides a safe, loving environment where children and youth who have been abused or neglected can heal from the wounds of their trauma. Palmetto Place prepares teens to live independently and help them reach self-sufficiency. In 2016, Palmetto Place’s shelter was expanded from one house with 20 beds to two houses with more than 50 beds and expanded again in 2019 with a Pregnant and Parenting Teen Program. Here, the state’s most vulnerable children and teens are home. Palmetto Place Children & Youth Services.

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