What is the best way to deliver programs that youth want and need? Ask them.
At Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, we’re looking to the teens as experts on the issues they face today and what kind of support they need from the caring adults around them.
Thirteen teen leaders representing our 30 Clubs come together as the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) to discuss what they’re seeing in their communities and how they can lead the way to solutions in the Club.
The teens collectively decided that mental health is the biggest issue facing them and their peers – and what they need the most help with from Club mentors.
As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, the TAB advocated for programming for the 13,000+ youth that attend the Club every day. These mental-wellness-related activities will help Club members learn skills for managing challenging emotions, practicing empathy, identifying and communicating their needs, and much more.
Mental wellness is an organizational priority that has our ongoing attention, and we’re excited for the additional focus on this important topic this month.
A few of the fun things happening in the Club for Mental Health Awareness Month are:
- Youth are participating in four themed weeks: coping strategies, self-care, self-esteem, and growth mindset
- Club 3rd and 4th graders are participating in our Positive Action program (open discussion time to promote mental wellness for elementary youth)
- We are hosting a family screening of Angst, a film that aims to remove stigma and open a dialogue about mental health. (https://bit.ly/angstbgc523)
- Our YouthForce teen employment program is using VR to teach teens about mindfulness (https://www.playmaloka.com/)
- Staff are receiving additional training as Circle-Keepers (Circle-Keeping is an indigenous practice of guiding a group through difficult conversations)
- And much more…
Mental wellness is not only a priority for the month of May. As part of our unwavering org-wide commitment to mental well-being, we have welcomed a licensed mental health therapist to our team (and we are hiring more!). Their expertise and compassion enable us to address the specific needs and requests of those seeking support. Our clubs offer a plethora of social-emotional learning activities each week throughout the year as well as provide personal support where necessary.
With 31 clubs scattered throughout Greater Seattle, Boys & Girls Clubs of King County remains steadfast in our commitment to empowering young people as they embark on their own “Great Futures.”
We invite you, our valued friends and supporters, to join us in taking action to create a brighter future for our youth. Together, we can foster a community that prioritizes mental well-being and actively supports young individuals’ healthy growth and development. Advocacy for increased funding and resources is crucial to ensuring that every young person has access to the support they need. Let us unite in empowering our youth to overcome challenges, embrace their strengths, and embark on their own “Great Futures.” We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support, and together, let’s make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of youth.