Fifty years later, and the Schrader family has continued Don’s legacy in spades. The family has been working with the Women’s Center Youth & Family Services to certify their McDonald’s locations as Safe Places for those who are in abusive situations. Golden State Restaurant Group also works with the District Attorney’s Office and Family Justice Center to host quarterly discussions for youth about teen dating violence and various topics that are of concern.
“At one of our community outreach events, Soda Pop with a Cop, District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar and Stockton Chief of Police Eric Jones discussed the need for Safe Place locations beyond government buildings in our area,” said Craig Schrader, who carried on the family business from his father Don. “We contacted the Women’s Center and said, ‘What do you think about turning all the restaurants in the county into a Safe Place?’ They loved the idea.”
For the next seven to eight months, “we figured out how the program worked, what the requirements were, and then implemented Safe Place training into the orientation for new employees,” Craig Schrader said. All employees across the organization have received instruction about how to spot signs of abuse, including a training video, and procedures are in place when a victim comes forward.
“It’s one thing to say, ‘Come to the District Attorney’s Office — everyone knows why you are coming,’” Verber-Salazar told KCRA 3, an NBC affiliate. “But, you could walk into McDonald’s and not be under that constant pressure and scrutiny and abuse. And have that one second—just that one second—where you say, ‘I need help.’”
Read the full KCRA article about McDonalds.
“We are in the (Interstate) 5 and Highway 99 corridor. So, those are the main thoroughfares to traffic people up and down the state. So, we are right there,” San Joaquin County Family Justice Center spokesperson Suzanne Schultz told KCRA. “A lot of people aren’t aware that human trafficking is happening in our area. It’s not just a problem in Thailand or Ukraine.”
One of the points the training drives home, Craig Schrader says, “is that nobody’s going to just run in and tell you something’s wrong, they’re just trying to get away and not sure if they can trust somebody or whether their situation’s going to improve. The training teaches you questions to ask to get somebody to open up and tell you what the problem is.” He added that the family is working on another training video specific to the local situation, to supplement the general training video.
The Beacon of Blue program grew from the family’s involvement with the Support Stockton PD initiative. With police officers in Stockton being paid less than other departments in the area, Support Stockton PD was established to help offset the lower salaries and Golden State Restaurant Group has been a valued partner of the program.
“The way we got involved was to provide Arch cards to the officers,” said Jason Roth, CEO of Tuleburg, a business development firm that works as an extension of Golden State Restaurant Group. “When officers are promoted, they receive a $50 Arch card to use at a local restaurant here in Stockton.” Recently, during a period of heightened protests and with a strong anti-police movement in the city, the location in Stockton was effectively shut down. “The idea for Beacon of Blue was to put blue lights on the restaurants that show law enforcement that we support them. The response from the police departments in the cities where the restaurants are located have been emotional, and the impact is huge.”
The program could serve as a model for expanding across the country. “The goal is to get as many people involved in putting up blue lights as possible,” says Carli Schrader.