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How to talk to kids about wildfiresWashington wildfire
Help kids express how news reports are impacting them

News about natural disasters can be tough even for adults, but for kids, sometimes it can be downright scary. 

"Kids who see a traumatic event on television often have no sense how close or far away it is," says YES Youth & Family Counseling Director Debbi Halela. "They may have a lot of fears about whether it will affect their town, their house."  

Halela recommends minimizing news exposure for preschool and young school-age children because images can create unnecessary worries and fears. Sleep problems, headaches, stomach aches, excessive irritability and clinginess may be signs that a child is harboring too much stress.

There are other things parents can do to help children cope with bad news:
  • Encourage children to talk about their fears and feelings. Ask what they have seen or heard and if there's anything they're worried about. Let their responses determine what information you give them.
  • Let your children know their emotions are OK. Acknowledge their feelings and provide reassurance. Don’t minimize their concerns by telling them not to worry.
  • Use the news as a teaching moment to share your family’s values. For instance, you might point out that there are opportunities to help people who have been impacted by the fires.
  • Help children express what they can’t put into words. Toys and drawing materials can encourage young children to express their fears or feelings.
  • With older children, use the news to discuss tough issues. Natural disasters like wildfires can be ripe with questions about economic disparity, for example.

Most importantly, don’t assume that your kids aren’t being impacted by what’s going on around them.

"Even very young children who don't appear to be paying attention absorb more than we realize,” Halela says.

For more information, check out our articles on Helping Kids Cope With Bad News and The Impact of Disasters on Kids.
Starbucks and YES partner for youth job access
Career fair helps teens receiving YES services learn about job opportunities

YES is abuzz about its new partnership with Starbucks, which is helping teens who are receiving YES' services access job opportunities.

On July 13, Starbucks launched a major youth hiring initiative. And on July 14, local hiring managers (at right) came to YES for the first-ever Starbucks Career Open House.

The managers talked with teens about part-time jobs and retail careers, workplace benefits including tuition assistance, helped teens apply for positions and gave interview tips. The hope is that the partnership will result in qualified, dedicated employees for Starbucks, and career and education opportunities for YES' teen service recipients.
YES staff member honoredDavid Downing
Alliance of Eastside Agencies recognizes Associate Director David Downing

In June, YES Associate Director David Downing received the Leadership Award at the Alliance of Eastside Agencies' (AEA) Annual Spring Awards Luncheon for his many years of service as the AEA board chair.  

"David is an inspiration," said AEA co-chair Rochelle Clayton Strunk. "He has an incredible understanding of the complexities and challenges that the human service organizations face, as well as the needs of our community."

Other award winners include:
  • Elected Official of the Year: Claudia Balducci, Mayor of Bellevue
  • Business: Microsoft, accepted by Jim Stanton
  • Faith Organization: Holy Family Parish 
  • Nonprofit Staff: Hillary Rossi, AtWork!
  • Youth Volunteer: Sarah Stewart, Communities That Care Coalition
  • Volunteer of the Year: Sylvia Polet, Hopelink

AEA helps build healthy communities in east King County through a strong human services network. Learn more at