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About Us

At Safe Passage, we strengthen our community by strengthening the families that live here. Every day, we meet parents and caregivers looking for answers, support, and information.

We help parents search for a counselor for their teenage daughter. We help a grandfather find a playgroup for his granddaughter.

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We help folks fill out applications for low-income housing and show them ways to increase their credit score. Sometimes we help find funds to pay utility bills; we email a document; we search the web; we make an appointment. We give away gently used clothing. We provide toiletries to homeless students. We offer fresh produce from our garden.

There are times when a parent or caregiver arrives with issues that need special attention. Those are the families that visit us often. They become part of our community.

Our story began when a group of community members led by Sally Bates recognized the need for a family resource center, a "one-stop shop." In 1996, we opened our door and started offering support to families with funding from a Healthy Start grant.

Like our founders, we believe our services and programs help children improve their chances of success in school and discover opportunities later in life. Our goal is to create a community filled with nurturing families—happy and successful children, parents, and caregivers. When we strengthen families, by offering a place to start and an open door, we strengthen the entire community.

Please support our community by donating today.


our Mosaic

Karen McDonell, who passed away in March 2017, created the mosaic around the front door at Safe Passage. An accomplished artist, she shared her love of creating art with middle and high school students. Local students helped Karen complete this vibrantly colored frame, a beautiful addition to our entrance.


During the 2018/2019 fiscal year, funding comes from

County contracts (56%)

School district (12%)

Foundation grants (8%)

Pass-through support for needy families (8%)

State contracts (10%)

Fundraising (6%)


How do we use those funds?

We offer a variety of programs and classes, and we assist families with many different issues related to housing, health, and parenting.

Most of our classes are free, and we provide childcare at no charge to the parents and caregivers who attend.

You do not need to be a legal U.S. resident to receive services from Safe Passage. We do our best to help everyone who comes to us—regardless of income level.


Download Our Latest Newsletter


Who We Are

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Laura Welter

Laura is our executive director. She has worked with nonprofits in the Fort Bragg community for over 30 years. Laura does a little bit of everything at Safe Passage, including hiring our caring and talented staff. She also supports and maintains good relationships with our many community partners.

Direct: 961-3605


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Laura Erskine

Our case manager, Laura E., provides information and referrals to public programs and community resources, and she helps caregivers and parents fill out forms and applications. She is a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, and trains parents how to properly install car seats and provides car seat safety checks.

Direct: 961-3603


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Jaunda Brown

With the addition of Jaunda, we now have a second case manager to provide information and referrals for public programs and other community resources. Jaunda has many years of experience working with families on housing and mental health issues.

Direct: 961-3604


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Elena Gonzalez

Elena, our receptionist, answers the phone and welcomes people when they walk through our door. She is bilingual and offers application assistance and translation services in English and Spanish.

Direct: 964-3077

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Anne Harvey

Anne is our Latino family advocate. She assists our Spanish-speaking parents and caregivers by serving as a liaison between them and school staff and encouraging involvement in their children's school.

Direct: 961-3602


Irene Malone

Irene hosts a bimonthly support group at Safe Passage for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.

Direct: 964-1931


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Jade Aldrich

Jade Aldrich, our young children’s family advocate, teaches Safe Passage’s Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) classes, and works two days a week, providing information and support to pregnant women and parents of young children. She hosts a breastfeeding support group each week. You can also find her at the Fort Bragg Farmers Market painting faces.

Direct: 961-3601




our Board of Directors

The Board of Directors meets on the second Thursday of every month at noon at the Safe Passage office. The public is welcome to attend.

Faith Simon, Board Chair

Family Nurse Practitioner at Fort Bragg Rural Health Center

Carolyn Carine

Director of Special Programs at Fort Bragg Unified School District

Meryl Schlingheyde

Operations Director, Mendocino Coast Clinics



Pamela Graham

Retired Registered Nurse

Sophie Vieira

Staff Assistant, Mendocino County Environmental Health

Cate Rossi

Intervention Instructional Assistant, Fort Bragg Unified Schools