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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment, Inc.)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Mental Health, Substance Abuse Prevention

Mission: SAFE engages our community in working together to prevent substance abuse.

Results: Some of SAFE's successes include a decrease in inhalant abuse among eighth-graders by 63% since 2005, from twice the national average to well below it. SAFE has partnered with air conditioning companies, who have installed over 2,500 free locking caps on A/C units to prevent huffing of refrigerant. SAFE's compliance checks initiative has led to a 75% reduction in alcohol sales to minors.

Target demographics: prevent substance abuse

Geographic areas served: the community of Chesterfield County

Programs: inhalant abuse prevention, marijuana use prevention, underage drinking prevention, alcohol-related crashes prevention,smoking prevention, and prescription drug abuse prevention.

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SAFE consists of a collection of utterly different and amazingly talented people all dedicated to the notion that when a community comes together with common values for a common cause, no challenge is too great. The community as well as the staff acted in concert to address substance abuse concerns through strategies proved effective via third party evaluation. When it comes to community action, it doesn't get any better than SAFE.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a High-School student, I find myself overzealous in my efforts in attempt to make a difference in my community. Not only does Chesterfield County SAFE give me the opportunity to do so , but they have also made differences in my life as well. I can truly say that everyone in this organization is just as passionate as I am , if not more, in touching the hearts of those in our community. We bring awareness to the possible detrimental effects that drug usage can have on someones life , mentor youth and serve as a voice for those who may not have one. I grew up without many opportunities , but once I ran into Chesterfield County SAFE I found changes in my life being made , hence , I became even more passionate about impacting the lives of others. If I had to start my journey over with SAFE and relive every moment volunteering or being around its board members, I would with no regrets.SAFE is truly an organization unlike any other.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As the retired medical director of a large state agency involved with mental health and substance abuse treatment and policy, I have been very impressed with Chesterfield SAFE as a group that very thoughtfully provides outreach, education and other services as well as collaboration and coordination with schools, children and parents, law enforcement and the general public. It has been a pleasure to get to know and work with SAFE staff and other volunteers such as myself.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

One of the things that I love most about SAFE is that they believe in community collaboration. They love connecting and networking with other sectors of the community, i.e. county agencies, schools, faith communities, businesses, the media, non-profits, and the police to create a stronger, healthier environment for all it's citizens. As a recent addition to the SAFE staff, I have been inspired as I have experienced individuals with a variety of strengths bringing what they have to the table to work together. We have volunteers who range in a variety of expertise, age, and cultural backgrounds. And as a result, SAFE's substance abuse free message has a broader, far-reaching impact, not just to Chesterfield County, but also across the metropolitan areas of Richmond. I have never seen a more selfless group of individuals who are willing to see each others' missions succeed in tandem with their own. Now that's what I call a "Great Nonprofit"!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Pat and my invovlement with SAFE as a volunteer was educational. SAFE really helped me understand the problems we have with substance abuse in our communities, families and homes. SAFE didn't just make me aware of the problems of substance abuse; they invited me to meetings for feedback, suggestions and person skills to help solve the problems of substance abuse. To me SAFE is an organization that SHOW others what they are about, ACT on what they show and believe , FOLLOW through with support, trainings & resources, and EMBRACE others to help.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a parent volunteer for SAFE since my son was in high school over 10 years ago. It was a hard time. The other community members in SAFE never judged me, welcomed whatever I could offer and gave me hope that together we could build a better substance free community. My son graduated from college several years ago, but I stay involved with SAFE because we are making a difference! Over the years we have used baseline data to make strategic interventions and have outcome data and results that prove we are making our community better for youth and adults.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Every good non-profit should have heart, but a GREAT non-profit has many heads and hands. SAFE, Inc is great because SAFE really understands the head part. In other words, everything starts and ends with data. We use data to assess our communities needs and we track our progress. Our hands are busy and always extended to partner with others. People who start volunteering with SAFE stay volunteering because it is so motivating to see the outcome data that shows we made a difference. Every meeting for any subgroup or task force has a clear vision of where they are going based on data. Meetings are punctuated by laughter and people saying, "Hey, what if...?" or "I know someone who can..." Creative ideas are explored, people are respected, and action is taken. As a volunteer who has a full time job, I stay involved with SAFE because not only does this group care, it makes a huge difference for our community. The Awards SAFE has won are nice, but making a difference is the best!

Read more

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SAFE works across the spectrum of needs of those who have dealt with, are dealing with, or are working to avoid becoming ensnared in the various types of substance abuse. Committed volunteers are the key to the programs and services. It's a great organization and has helped many in the community to have better, substance-abuse-free lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past summer I worked for SAFE as an intern collecting data about DUI's in our area. The more I researched the more interested I became myself. It was a huge learning experience and it validated the need for an organization like SAFE to dedicate itself to making the public aware and working to make our communities a safer place. SAFE creates programs designed to specific age groups and/or demographics to better inform us about alcohol and substance abuse in general. Once you are aware of the statistics and need for SAFE you will want to support this organization and its commitment to making a difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SAFE has done a great job in presenting education to providers who prescribe opioids in Chesterfield County. By raising their awareness and by teaching safe prescribing strategies SAFE has not only made strides in establishing best practices for prescribers but also has made the county a safer place in which those in legitimate need of management of chronic pain can receive relief.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was originally introduced to SAFE a few years ago through an individual that approached me at the annual YADAPP conference, which is something that I have been involved with since high school. My participation began on a small scale - I sat in on a few meetings and worked with the county police on their underage buying program. Before long, though, I was able to commit more time to the organization and thus became involved with the Marketing Committee. Just recently, I began volunteering with the Underage Drinking Task Force, another committee in the organization that is focused on eliminating the underage drinking problem that is so prevalent in our community.

Although I have been involved with SAFE for a relatively short period of time, I have had the wonderful opportunity to see first-hand the dedication and drive that the many members of this organization possess. The executive director, Wayne Frith, is truly passionate about eliminating the substance abuse problems that plague our community and school system, as are the other staff members that comprise SAFE. The campaign against inhalant abuse, which has been recognized on a national level for its effectiveness, was just one of a myriad of ideas that originated within the walls of this organization's headquarters. A recent effort to contain the A/C refrigerant abuse problem within our area was also a resounding success, as has been the ongoing campaign against underage drinking. All in all, SAFE is an incredible organization that has changed the lives of countless numbers of individuals throughout the Richmond Metro area. If our model were able to be replicated across the United States, there is no telling how many lives could be saved on a daily basis. I am truly proud to say that I am involved with such a wonderful group of individuals!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of speaking in front of a senior class in 2009 about the dangers of beach week. It was because of SAFE that I had the opportunity to talk to the students about my experiences in hopes that the students would be able to relate and also take some helpful pointers along with them. SAFE is a great program and targets both students and parnets and helps educate both of them and the dangers of alcohol.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In March 2010, I was really trying to find an opportunity where I could give back to the community. I myself have a history with substance abuse, have recently turned my life around and knew from the begin ing that this is the area I was interested in. I attended a meeting at John Tyler Community College for the organization called "Red Watch Band". It was there that I met two women whose mission was to bring awareness to college students about the dangers of binge drinking. Sitting in that meeting I had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to introduce myself to these women, tell them my story, and ask how I could get involved. So that's exactly what I did, and was first introduced to the organization called SAFE. I started going to meetings and met all those involved with the organization. I must say, that I absolutely believe 100% in their mission and their ability to accomplish it. You couldn't ask for a more passionate group of employees and volunteers. Every single person involved with SAFE is a complete asset. I love volunteering and being a part of SAFE.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SAFE is an extremely commuted member in the community. They strive to educate youth on the dangers of substance abuse. While educating the volunteers, they really focused on quality information and communication to enforce their goals. During the entire year,
I felt like an important piece of the community and felt that I had a valid impact.

Jessi K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I personally was not able to fully experience what this program does because of schedually conflicts, but from when i was there is was an increadibly fun and educational program. Even fror me as a person who was supposed to teach the lesson I learned so much. Getting to know some of the people at my school I would normally not hang out with was fun as well. This experience, though not fully experience, helped me to stregthen my dislike of drugs and the like in underage children and heightened my want to do more to stop children before they start.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SAFE focuses on eliminating substance abuse, especially in teens. They have done a remarkable job of developing a coalition of governmental, public and private organizations and agencies to focus on this critical issue and they have been very successful. Great work! Keep it up!

Anne T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SAFE has worked tirelessly to help our community of Chesterfield County VA to be safer for our youth. By developing programs that have targeted inhalant abuse, prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse, as well as underage drinking, they have contributed to making this a community that is "safe" for our neighbors.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SAFE is a pro-active community organization. Its focus is on getting young people and adults involved in the prevention and intervention process of dealing with substance abuse. SAFE members also recognize the importance of acknowledging all types of substances that may be abused. To that end, SAFE has recently begun a campaign to address Freon huffing. SAFE's prevention through awareness approach has made a huge difference in this community.