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Parents Guide to do something about it.” Friends of Youth is one of two Issaquah School District partner organizations working to bring mental health counseling directly to the schools. Last year, Swedish Hospital added schoolbased mental health counselors to Skyline, Issaquah and Liberty high schools, while Friends of Youth has specialists at Beaver Lake and Maywood middle schools and offers drop-in services at schools in the Issaquah, Snoqualmie Valley and Riverview school districts. Friends of Youth also has an Issaquah office, where schools can refer students for further counseling. Still, having

on-site mental health counselors is a significant benefit that not all school districts get to experience, said Marie MacCoy, Friends of Youth’s director of youth and family services “It’s a real low barrier way to connect with students right where they are,” she said. Bell, who spends most of her time working out of the Issaquah Friends of Youth office, has had clients as young as 4 and as old as 21. She estimated that most of her clients fall in the 10-18 age range. In her interactions with local 13-year-old Jackson (his name was changed to protect his identity), Bell helped him understand his

PAGE 17 NOVEMBER 2015

Charity Rise and Thrive Breakfast supports mental health counseling It’s been more difficult to find the money for onsite behavioral health professionals as state funding shrinks for schools, Friends of Youth CEO Terry Pottmeyer told The Issaquah Press in 2014. “A decade ago, the school districts had the funds to also partner with us and provide some of that financial support, but as the funding became more difficult for districts, they cut back on this because they needed to have the funds to go

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into other portions of the educational school day,” she said. One fundraising solution that Friends of Youth employs is a charity breakfast. In its third year, the breakfasts offered in three different school district communities raise behavioral health awareness and “raise funds to ensure that those services are available as much as possible within the school day,” Pottmeyer said. Attendees can give and hear from students who benefit from the onsite

counseling services at the Issaquah Rise and Thrive Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. Dec. 2 at Pickering Barn, 1730 10th Ave. N.W. Participants are encouraged to preregister in advance at www.friendsofyouth.org, though all will be welcomed on the day of the event. The breakfast is free, but donations are suggested. Thanks to community donations from last year’s breakfast fundraiser, Friends of Youth was able to add additional

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hours to the current counseling services provided during the school day. All proceeds from the event go directly to the programs supporting the Issaquah School District. “We would like to do as much as we can,” Pottmeyer said. “This breakfast allows us to say to the community, ‘We think this is important, and if you agree, let’s join together and do what we can to bring these services back into schools.’”

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