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GET TO KNOW SAFE PROJECT

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HISTORY

The roots of SAFE Project can be traced back to 1974. Nine female law students at the University of Wyoming (UW) saw a need to raise awareness about rape at UW and in Laramie, so they opened and staffed the Women's Awareness Movement Office on campus to provide educational materials. Around the same time, a community group of activists raised funds to set up a voucher system to pay for hotel rooms for women and children who were fleeing domestic and family violence situations. In 1977, the two groups merged under the name SAFE Project (Sexual Assault Family Violence Educational Project), which became a registered nonprofit in 1980 and a 501c3 in 1981. 

 

SAFE Project received assistance from a number of organizations in the early years. The first office space was donated for two years by the Susan B. Anthony Center at UW. State grants provided funds to hire staff, establish a 24-hour crisis line, train volunteer advocates, and begin educational programs in Albany County. Church Women United, a group that had been educating the community on intimate partner violence, elected to transfer their shelter fund to SAFE Project in 1982. The funds helped make it possible to purchase SAFE’s first permanent shelter building in the late 1980s. In 1991, an office building was purchased on Steele Street to improve accessibility to services for survivors in the community.


Over time, more space was needed for providing services to an increasing number of clients. In 2010, two separate buildings were purchased and renovated with community development block grants from the Wyoming Business Council and the Wyoming Community Development Authority, funding from the Guthrie Family Foundation, and proceeds from the sales of the former shelter property and the office on Steele. The building at 319 South Lincoln Street was renovated into the present day office. The new shelter property was ready by early 2011 and provided a larger space with more rooms and beds to accommodate more clients and children. Thanks to local groups including Rotary Club of Laramie, a playground was added on site for children staying in shelter to have a safe outdoor area to play. SAFE Project opened a satellite office on the UW campus in fall 2016 to provide related university specific services for survivors and increase access for students, faculty, and university staff. By 2017, with help from a Red Rover grant, pet friendly upgrades were made to allow pets to stay in the shelter with clients. In 2023, we started making repairs and upgrades to the shelter for safety and longevity that we hope to complete in 2024. To find out how you can help, please visit our donate page.

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PRESENT DAY

Today SAFE Project works closely with a number of local, state, and federal organizations and agencies to better assist clients and meet their needs. Since 2009, SAFE has been coordinating the local Sexual Assault Response Team to facilitate increased collaboration among health agencies, emergency responders, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system. 

 

SAFE Project employs a director, assistant director, and four full time advocates, with most of the staff in the main office plus one staff advocate in an office in Knight Hall on the University of Wyoming campus. An average of 15-30 volunteer advocates who completed our mandatory 40-hour training for providing services to survivors actively help staff the 24-hour hotline or intern in the office. Up to ten men each year are selected to be part of our volunteer SAFE Men program and complete training on interpersonal violence to prepare them for providing prevention education. Our Board of Directors is a volunteer team of individuals from a variety of professions throughout the community. 

 

More information about our services can be found on our home page and throughout our website, and more information on prevention, outreach and events can be found on the corresponding tabs or by clicking the underlined links.