Bainbridge Youth Services (BYS) received the top regional honor in the 2012 Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) Community Recognition Awards. WASA holds annual regional awards ceremonies to honor organizations, businesses or individuals who partner with schools in support of students.
“BYS has served Bainbridge Island teens, their families and our community since 1962, and it was our honor to nominate this outstanding community organization for the WASA award,” said Bainbridge Island Superintendent Faith Chapel. “In their 50-year history, BYS has provided our students with free, high-quality professional counseling; a jobs program; recognition for students’ acts of compassion and community involvement; and a variety of other programs and services.”
The BYS mission is to promote the social and emotional wellbeing of all community adolescents. The organization’s guiding principles - respect for youth and a responsibility to provide and maintain a strong community support system - sustain that mission.
Data from community surveys and the biannual Healthy Youth Survey have repeatedly shown that Bainbridge Island teens are not immune from serious health-related issues including stress, drug and alcohol use, anxiety, abuse, or suicide. School counselors provide students and families with guidance and support, but they rely on Bainbridge Youth Services to provide confidential mental health services that exceed what a school district can offer. BYS counselors are onsite at Bainbridge High School, Woodward Middle School, and Sakai Intermediate School.
Statistics bare up the support they offer. In 2011, over 130 individuals received nearly 1300 client contact hours in their counseling program. “BYS fills a vital niche for teens in crisis, administering the only free mental health services available to teens through Kitsap County,” reported BYS Executive Director Lori Midthun. BYS counselors are master level, have years of experience with youth, and work with a clinical supervisor to ensure best practices and quality care for clients.
Awards were presented on Friday, May 18, at Puget Sound Educational Service District offices in Renton.