TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The Tippecanoe Mall is becoming a place of refuge for children and teens in Greater Lafayette.
"We are a very common place for children to gather," said Tippecanoe Mall Marketing Director Danielle Parker. "Tippecanoe County Youth Services wants to limit the number of runaways."
That's why it chose the Tippecanoe Mall as a designated Safe Place for kids in crisis.
"We're talking like 13-18 years old," said Parker.
Tippecanoe is only the second Simon Mall in the state to become a safe place.
"It's very exciting for us to kind of be on the cutting edge of this new national organization," said Parker.
Managers were trained on the program earlier this month. Staff won't approach kids who may need help. The child has to reach out to them.
"We just kind of sit down and get to know you," explained Parker. "Then we basically make a phone call and someone from the Tippecanoe County Youth Services Department is going to come out and they are going to give you all of the resources for information on how we can fix what is going on in your current situation."
But what if someone comes here after hours? There is a number for the Tippecanoe County Youth Services posted outside every entrance as well as a number to text for help.
"I think this kind of solidifies the fact that Tippecanoe Mall really appreciates the relationship we have with our community and the residents here in Lafayette and West Lafayette," said Parker.
No one has used the mall as a safe place yet, but staff is prepared for when they do.
"We look forward to helping them," said Parker.
We reached out to Tippecanoe County Youth Services to see how many Safe Places there are in Tippecanoe County. We also want to know how many children use them in this area. We are still waiting to hear back.