Have you ever had things happen in your life that made you think, “What in the world was that?” I had one of those moments today.  I was out running and walking this morning. It was drizzling and the wind was strong, but I was making amazing time. I was about to make my best time yet when this woman walked up to me out of the blue. She was carrying a duffle bag and told me that she was sorry to be interrupting my exercise. I took off my headphones to hear what she said.

She said that she was looking to travel southward. My neighborhood is one of the points furthest north of the city. I asked her what exactly she wanted to do. She said that she needed to get on a Greyhound bus and that she wanted to go to Tucson. I told her that the city bus station across the street had a bus that goes downtown and she can take a bus to Portland and take the bus from either place. She said she was fleeing domestic violence so I gave her the name of an agency I have donated to in the past and directions how to get there.  I thought about her the entire way home. She must have been visiting someone (or hitchhiking?) because my neighborhood is REALLY suburban. It is not the type of place where one looks to get hold of major transportation. We’re less than half an hour from the airport, but it looks a lot different from the city. In any case, I made it a point to program the number to the emergency shelter clearing house into my phone so that I can offer more help if I ever run into a situation like that again.

Everybody needs a safe place.

March 15-20 was designated as National Safe Place Week. The purpose of the week is to prevent and raise awareness for the issue of teen homelessness (which puts adolescents in danger of disease, drug addiction, mental illness and sexual exploitation), and bring attention to services available to youth in crisis. With so many people of all ages fighting homelessness, I thought it would be a good thing to share.