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Record year for the 2018 Invest in Youth Breakfast

Lidia Harding
Blog Events Invest in Youth Breakfast

After 18-year-old Zoey, who doesn’t identify with a particular gender, asked the audience to take a deep breath in and out with them, they explained that two years ago, “pre-therapy Zoey” would have never thought to do that.  “This is a post-therapy Zoey. I’m doing my best with the skills I’ve acquired and working on building more. I speak often in front of large crowds, which pre-therapy Zoey would have been absolutely freaking out about, but I’ve only cried once over this – that’s pretty impressive.”

This was a record year for the annual YES breakfast fundraiser, with over 1200 attendees raising over $730,000 to support behavioral health care services and programs for East King County youth and families. The room was filled with feelings of kindness, generosity and a renewed inspiration to support our younger generation.

Keynote speaker, and New York Times best-selling author, Cheryl Strayed, shared her struggles with drug abuse, grief, and a difficult family situation with the audience, and that we’re all in this together.

“I went on this journey, I struggled with these things, and we all still struggle to always be stronger, better and to improve our life, and we are all proof that you can come out the other side and we all have the capacity to grow.”

The event also kicked off YES’ celebration of 50 years of service, featuring a video showing the amazing journey since 1968 of a volunteer-run organization dubbed “Heads Up.”

“What was once a small volunteer effort that offered struggling teens a place to talk and hang out, has turned into a comprehensive behavioral health organization that serves thousands of youth and families every year,” said Patti Skelton-McGougan, YES CEO.

YES will continue to celebrate this remarkable milestone throughout 2018. Please follow along on our Facebook page or visit

As the morning came to close, with stories of struggles and triumphs, YES Board President Linda Reichenbach passionately expressed the importance of access to counseling services in our community. “Mental health is equally as important as physical health and we need to treat it that way. We need to be the catalyst in our community to rid ourselves of the shame and guilt around this very subject, and ensure that all kids get the help they need.”

Other speakers included retired KING 5 TV news anchor Dennis Bounds, Dr. Lorena Shih and CEO Dr. Glenn Lux of Allegro Pediatrics, current trustee Phil Kasin and former trustee (and Phil’s mother) Cindy Kasin, plus youth speakers from YES.

“We can’t thank our community enough for standing up for families,” YES Executive Director Patti Skelton-McGougan said. “Our children are our future, and it’s only through our collective efforts that they’ll succeed.”

The funds raised will support low/no-cost mental health care and substance abuse treatment for families in need — as well as education and prevention services, throughout our community.

Read more about the event by Raechel Dawson from the Bellevue Reporter.

View Cheryl Strayed’s live video from the event on our Facebook page.

See more event wrap-up at

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