QuikTrip convenience store to include ‘Safe Place' for youths in danger

First store to open in Live Oak on Thursday

By Stephanie Serna - Reporter

LIVE OAK, Texas - A popular North Texas convenience store and gasoline marketer is moving south and set to open the first of many locations in the San Antonio area.

The first QuikTrip store is opening in Live Oak on Thursday.

While QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh says QuikTrip has unique menu items and great service, they are also announcing their designation as a "Safe Place," where teens in danger can go to for help.

"It's designed to help youth. They may be a runaway. They may have had substance abuse (issues). They may have all kinds of difficulties,” Thornbrugh said. “They come to QuikTrip, and they have a relationship with an agency who are experts in dealing with this to make them feel safe and secure. It's a great program. It makes a big difference in a lot of lives."

QuikTrip has partnered with Roy Maas Youth Alternatives to help youths in crisis.

Chuck Paul is an outreach specialist at Roy Maas Youth alternatives' Centro Seguro Drop-In Center, a center for children and teens who just need a safe place to go.

Paul said in just one year, the center has helped more than 260 young people.

"I've seen the horrible cases that have come through San Antonio, exploitation of young people in and around our city. I've worked on several of those cases,” Paul said.

QuikTrips are open 24 hours a day, making them accessible to young people that need help, and the employees there are trained to respond.

"They're going to have a checklist that they're going to have to identify when a young person comes in and says, ‘I need help,’” Paul said. “The checklist is first going to say ‘Who is this person? What's going on with them?’”

If a young person needs help, a trained QuikTrip employee will contact Roy Maas Youth Alternatives. A staff member from there will arrive and talk to the youth, and if necessary, they will provide transportation back to Roy Maas, where staff members at the agency can provide support and services.

QuikTrip is looking to develop more sites and with those will come more "Safe Place" designations to help more children and teens facing a crisis.

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