SafeZones Logo

The Chemung County SafeZones Program provides middle and high school students with a safe, empowering and non-judgmental environment to learn about LGBTQ+ history, culture and relevant topics. SafeZones promotes diversity and encourages acceptance for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
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Pride Flag-created by students from EDA


Happy Hooping Flyer 2023

Empty hElmira Pride Event 2023
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Safezones Brochure 2023

In School Services
The SafeZones group location is a designated safe space for students to get a break and be themselves . Programs and groups are facilitated by Ashley Rouse. Programs focus on kindness, acceptance, diversity, respect, and culture.

Lunch Breaks
Students who are feeling anxious or overwhelmed in the cafeteria during lunch can come to Room C104 on Tuesday's & Thursday's at EDA and Room A104 on Monday’s & Wednesday's at BWA during Lunch. Students will be allowed to make new friends, play games, learn coping skills and process their thoughts with their peers and SafeZones program coordinator. Lunch breaks focus on helping students understand mental health and learn new skills to help themselves or others cope with feeling strong emotions.

Hope Squad Lunch Group
Hope Squad, a Peer to Peer Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness Program, will meet during lunches on Thursday's at EDA and on Wednesday's at BWA.

Community Education and Outreach
The SafeZones program offers community education and outreach. Trainings will be scheduled on a quarterly basis and will be open to the public. Registration for all community trainings will be required.

Community Youth Programming Wednesday Night Teen Group will be held weekly at the Steele Memorial Library from 6:30 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.

Parent Support
SafeZones provides support for parents of LGBTQ+ youth. 

For more information or questions about the Chemung County SafeZones Program please contact: Ashley Rouse, SafeZones Program Coordinator at  


LGBTQ+ National Resources

Axis Parents Guide to LGBTQ

Gender Unicorn

2021 GLSEN Back to School - Student Guide

2021 GLSEN Back to School - Educator Guide

The Chemung County SafeZones Program is made possible through the partnerships of Chemung County, the Elmira City School District and Pathways Inc.