“I am going to make this a part of our training for every new employee,” Gutierrez said.
The Burger King restaurant, all area fire stations, Glendale Beeline buses and city departments are locations where teens can get help. All facilities are outfitted with a yellow Safe Place sign displayed on their buildings.
At the 43 locations, teens can talk to employees trained in some crisis intervention and get them help.
Glendale Safe Place is the only program of its kind in Los Angeles County.
The program started in 2002 to help teens who are struggling with abuse, are suicidal or depressed, addicted to drugs or alcohol, being threatened or bullied, or who ran away from home.
The closest city to have a similar Safe Place program is Riverside, Ravada said.
Employees are trained to contact a counselor, who is on-call and available to help teens at any hour. If teens need a place to stay, they are taken to a shelter.
Forty-eight teens have contacted the program for help in the past 12 months, she said.
Another 24 teens have gone to area facilities for help, Ravada said.
As part of training and equipping the La Crescenta restaurant to be a new safe place for teens, Gutierrez and her employees watched a five-minute instructional video before Ravada gave them counseling tips.
Employees shouldn’t ask the teens many questions and should immediately offer help, Ravada said.
“Don’t ask them for their life story,” she said.
They should also take the teens to a quiet room and away from the general public just in case someone is following them, Ravada said.
The room should not be isolated because she said employees should be checking on the teen every few minutes.
Employees should also offer the troubled teens food or beverages and make them feel comfortable while they wait for a counselor to arrive, Ravada said.
Employee Ursula Garcia said she hadn’t heard about the program until Tuesday’s training, but added that she wasn’t nervous to help.
“I think I could help them,” she said.