Daniela Finds Connection at Latino HEAT During an Isolating Time
Daniela* was only a couple of months old when her family moved to Bellevue from Mexico. The family had to start working hard right away, which created stress and conflict in her home.
In middle school, Daniela had to create a family tree. Her family didn’t talk much about their life in Mexico and her father was always working, so her family tree was very small.
“I felt weird because everyone had these big family trees and mine was very small. I remember my teacher was mad at me and told me I didn’t complete my homework. She made me get a letter signed by my mom that I talked to her about it. I didn’t understand why my family was different.”
As the pandemic set in, Daniela felt even more isolated and disconnected. Then a family friend told her about Latino HEAT, a support group for Latinx students at Sammamish High School. Even though her first meetings were virtual, Daniela was grateful to have a space to connect with others and learn more about her culture.
“Without Latino HEAT I would be lonely, and isolated. Latino HEAT really impacted me in a positive way and I’m really thankful for everyone in the group and at YES.”
Next year, Daniela will graduate and she’s looking forward to Latino HEAT’s special graduation event. She wants to show her appreciation to her family, to Latino HEAT facilitators Tina and Judith, and the other youth in the group, by graduating.
* While the client story told here is true, the name, image, and identifying information have been changed to protect the privacy of the client.
In honor of #NationalMinorityMentalHealth month, we’d like to celebrate Latino HEAT and Latinos Unidos, two YES programs dedicated to supporting local Latinx youth and families. These East King County groups are a safe space for Latinx youth to make friends, connect with their culture and make a difference.