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Our History

Citizens for Safe Schools was founded by Debbie Vought and Klamath County District Attorney Ed Caleb in 1999.  At that time, Vought was a local English teacher concerned that too many of her students were coming to class not ready to learn, often due to extreme stressors like bullying, poverty or challenges at home.  During the same time period, there was a spate of tragic school shootings across the United States, from Arkansas, to Oregon, to Columbine High School in Colorado. With an eye on helping students thrive and preventing violence, Vought and DA Caleb joined forces.  After much research they decided on a community-wide norm changing initiative like “CHARACTER COUNTS” combined with a strategy of one-to-one mentoring for high needs youth as a way to improve school climate, increase student’s academic performance and reduce the likelihood of a tragic school shooting.

Through donations, grant writing and signature events like the annual Run for Kids and CHARACTER COUNTS and Mentoring Matters Banquet, Citizens for Safe Schools has literally returned millions of dollars in programs and services to Klamath County. CFSS mentors have given over a 100,000 volunteer hours to young people and reached nearly all 10,000 of Klamath County’s youth with motivational assemblies provided by such notables as Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Peter C. Lemon, Columbine survivor Crystal Miller, Rachel’s Challenge, Charlie Appelstein, CHARACTER COUNTS CEO Michael Josephson, Ray Lozano, Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler and Country Music Star Jimmy Wayne.

Our goal for 2017 is 75 mentors.

Our demand for responsible, caring adult mentors is very high. Research tells us over 40% of today’s youth lack the social supports needed to reach their academic and social potential. Ten percent of those are considered most at-risk. In Klamath County, that means over 400 kids desperately need our help. Give us a call to discuss how mentoring works. We need you!


p. 541-882-3198

Office Hours: Mon - Fri, 8:00 - 5:00

2316 South Sixth Street, Suite A
Klamath Falls Oregon 97601

Mailing address:
PO Box 243
Klamath Falls, OR 97601