JOE TORRE SAFE AT HOME FOUNDATION DOUBLES PROGRAMMING REACH IN LOS ANGELES WITH HELP OF THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND LOS ANGELES COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION
Expanded Virtual Programming and Services Help Children Impacted by Violence and Abuse in Homes, Schools and Communities
LOS ANGELES, CA, March 4, 2021 – The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation today announced that it has expanded its programming in Los Angeles, doubling its reach to students in Los Angeles County schools. This expansion is part of a growing partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s (LACOE) community schools initiative, with support provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH).
Safe At Home’s mission is to end the cycle of domestic violence through education. The organization’s Los Angeles programming provides healing, hope, and empowerment to youth who have witnessed or experienced violence and abuse. Due to COVID-19, Safe At Home shifted to virtual programming and counseling through its partnerships with the schools. The LACOE community schools model is a strategy aimed at disrupting poverty and addressing longstanding inequities. The approach highlights areas of need and leverages community resources so students are healthy, prepared for college and ready to succeed in the workplace and in civic life.
“For nearly ten years in Los Angeles, Safe At Home has provided life-changing services to children exposed to violence and abuse,” said Joe Torre, Co-Founder and Chairman, the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation. “Domestic violence exists behind closed doors, and the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us staying at home didn’t always mean being safe at home. We have seen a concerning and dramatic increase in domestic violence during this challenging time. It is critical that we expand our services now and reach children virtually in these situations. We are so grateful for the support of both the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and the Los Angeles County Office of Education’s community schools initiative.”
“DMH continues to expand its support for LACOE’s community schools initiative though funding Margaret’s Place and this important work,” said Dr. Jonathan E. Sherin, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
Through Safe At Home’s previous locations in Los Angeles, it reached more than 5,000 students a year. There are currently three Safe At Home locations currently actively operating in Los Angeles, in addition to the ten Safe At Home locations in New York, New Jersey and Ohio. Beginning December 2020, Safe At Home doubled its programming reach as it expands into six additional schools, many in separate districts across Los Angeles County:
- Bassett High School, Bassett Unified School District
- Centennial High School, Compton Unified School District
- Duarte High School, Duarte Unified School District
- John H. Glenn High School, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District
- Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District
- Southeast Academy High School, Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District
“Due to everyone being isolated during this pandemic, children facing domestic violence and abuse can go unnoticed since they are not physically attending school or other facilities where mandated reporters can intervene and ensure they get help,” said Debra Duardo, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools. “Our partnership with Safe At Home supports our Community Schools initiative to attend to the needs of the whole child and ensure that all our young people are emotionally and physically healthy and ready to learn.”
Safe At Home, which helps children impacted by violence and abuse in their homes, schools, and communities, has reached more than 100,000 students since its founding. Safe At Home helps young people cope with their experiences and get on the path to healing, hope, and empowerment. Safe At Home’s signature program is a school-based safe room called Margaret’s Place, named in honor of Joe Torre’s mother. Each Margaret’s Place is staffed by a full-time, master’s-level therapist who provides both individual and group counseling sessions. Additionally, each Margaret’s Place program has a peer leadership program, which supports youth as they foster social, organizational, and leadership skills, and empowers young people to be change agents in their communities. Safe At Home also offers an intern program for alumni of the Margaret’s Place program who have demonstrated responsibility and leadership potential. Alumni staff assist in managing the peer leadership program, create and lead workshops, ensure that youth voice is present in its work, provides professional development opportunities for alumni, and establishes a relatable point of access for students. With the additional funding in Los Angeles, Safe At Home plans to launch its successful alumni program to its schools in California.
“We are incredibly grateful to double our reach in Los Angeles, reaching approximately 5,000 children in the 2019-20 school year to now more than 13,000 children in Los Angeles County alone,” said Ali Torre, President, Safe At Home. “The impact of domestic violence and abuse on children, families and communities can be devastating and the pandemic exacerbates the situation. Bringing our resources and services directly into school programming will help us end the cycle of domestic violence and, ultimately, save lives.”