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November 2021

Holding hope for others in difficult times

As another challenging year comes to a close, I want to take a moment to express my appreciation to you and so many others who stand with Southeast Youth and Family Services in so many ways. On behalf of our Board and the staff I am privileged to lead, please know how deeply grateful we are to all of you for your continuing support in helping our most vulnerable neighbors during this very difficult time.

I also want to acknowledge the incredible strength and resiliency of Southeast Youth and Family Services children, youth and families who have faced an avalanche of challenges this year. You are our partners, collaborators, and friends, and we are inspired by your perseverance.


One of the things we talk about at SEYFS is holding hope for others in moments when they struggle to hold it for themselves. This year in particular, holding hope has been all the more important.

The challenges we face – the pandemic, racial injustice, health and housing inequity, gender violence, and so much more – will not end with the new year. But I know that with all of you as our partners, together, we will build communities where everyone has a voice, thrives, and can live their best lives.


Thank you,


Anthony Austin
Executive Director, Southeast Youth & Family Services

‘We don’t have to deal with it alone’

In therapy, youth learn new ways to cope, get support, and build resilience during anxious times

COVID-19 has taken a devastaing toll on communities all over the world in the last year and a half. A virus that’s killed more than 5 million people has also fueled surges in anxiety, depression, insomnia, and the like, hitting middle and high schoolers especially hard.

At a time when tweens and teens are biologically programmed to distance themselves from their parents, COVID-19 lockdowns forced them to hunker down at home. Cut off from their friends, they went to school on screens, got used to isolation, friction with family members trapped at home with them. 

Isolation from peers had a really big impact on adolescents,” says Mary Malhoit, therapist and clinical director here at Southeast Youth and Family Services. “They missed out on those two-minute, informal hallway conversations at school, where they might say ‘Yeah, that happened to me, too!’ or realize they feel differently about something than their peers.”


In some cases, youth don’t realize they’re struggling with anxiety until they go to the doctor with physical symptoms like dizziness, sweating and rapid heart rate. In therapy, they learn new ways to cope with whatever’s causing their anxiety, depression, worries about the future, whatever it is that’s weighing on them.


After a breakthrough in counseling, one teen recently said she still gets stressed when thinking about life after high school, “but talking with friends about it made us realize that we’re all stressed about it and that we don’t have to deal with it alone.


Learn more about our mental health services

Youth and family workshops help parents, teens forge stronger connections

Smiling mother, father and adolescent daughter

Tough as times have been during the pandemic, we’ve experienced bright spots with youth and families in virtual workshops that bring together teens, their parents/caregivers, for an evening of cooking together, talking about relationship challenges and ways to communicate better.


“What we see is kids and parents wanting to connect positively and support each other,” SEYFS Clinical Director Mary Malhoit says. “There are always barriers, but as soon as you give families the chance and a safe space to talk about their feelings, it’s clear they want to stay connected.”


These workshops are offered through our Strong Connections — Powerful Futures program, funded by King County’s Best Starts for Kids initiative, which voters recently renewed with overwhelming support. (THANK YOU, voters!!!)


Learn more about our FREE workshops

Rental assistance helps Earl get back on his feet

Like a lot of folks in the foodservice industry, Earl Brown got laid off as soon as the pandemic struck. He loved his job as a chef at the Seahawks and Sounders’ stadium. Before COVID, he’d often cater on the side, but that work dried up quick, too. 

“It was really rough,” he said. “I looked for a job ... no luck, no nothing.”

For most of a year, Earl relied on unemployment to pay his bills. Earlier this year, he fell behind on his rent and applied for assistance through King County’s Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program. At first, he got approved, then something fell through, he picked up the phone and started calling one community organization after another asking for help.

When he reached us at Southeast Youth and Family Services, he was thrilled to hear we could follow up with the county and advocate for him. We also covered $3,000 in late rental payments, bridging the gap while we worked to get things sorted out with the county. 

Earl recently got word that the county came through. Now the rent for his apartment in Des Moines is all paid up through the end of January. 

“It’s a blessing,” he said. “I think I can get back on my feet now.”

We’re grateful for the opportunity to stand with community members like Earl, one of more than 7,600 households that King County has supported with a total of $82 million in rental assistance so far in 2021. 

Learn more about our work connecting people in our community to eviction prevention services and the impact that organizations like Southeast Youth and Family Services are having by supporting the county with outreach.


Time out for staff self-care

In good times and bad, we care deeply about the youth and families who turn to us for support. Sometimes showing up for others requires showing up for ourselves.

Yet it’s easy to let self-care slip, especially when you need it the most. We took time for self-care as a staff recently, gathering at SuperSix for a pottery class led by Seattle artist Faye Baker, who made a special collection of Black Lives Matter mugs benefitting Southeast Youth and Family Services earlier this year.


to our neighbors at SuperSix for giving us space for the class.
And to Faye Baker of Fayezart Pottery Studio for taking the time to lead us in a creative and calming exercise in self-care.

Want to be a Toys for Tots helper?

We’re thrilled to be selected as a 2021 Toys for Tots distribution partner. And we’re looking for a few volunteers to help us hand out dozens of donated toys in mid-December. We’re still working out logistics, including the date and time of the event.

If you’re interested in helping out, please email Nichole Jacobs at

Save the date for radical generosity

November 30, 2021

We love how the leaders of GivingTuesday define radical generosity.

“GivingTuesday recognizes that we each can drive an enormous amount of positive change by rooting our everyday actions, decisions and behavior in radical generosity—the concept that the suffering of others should be as intolerable to us as our own suffering.

Radical generosity invites people in to give what they can to create systemic change.”

There are many ways to practice radical generosity on GivingTuesday. It doesn’t have to involve writing a check or clicking donate. Embrace whatever kind of radical generosity feels right to you this GivingTuesday, whether it’s volunteering, delivering a meal to a neighbor in need, or picking up the phone to thank someone for their kindness.

We’ll be taking time this GivingTuesday to reach out to the people and partners who give in so many ways. We want to make sure you all know how grateful we are for your support. Don’t be surprised if you hear from us! 😍

Your support makes healing, hope, and healthier lives possible.
P.S. Here's a radical generosity idea for you: Forward this email to a few folks in your network and encourage them to subscribe here or on our website! 🤗
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