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For the first time, I have hope for my future

Lidia Harding
School-based Substance Abuse Success Stories
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Youth like Jesse need your help, and we can’t do it without you! Please make your gift by midnight on December 31st so that all children, youth and families can access the mental health or substance use counseling and treatment they urgently need.

Jesse’s Story

At the age of 16, Jesse found himself at a crossroads. “I had to choose whether I was going to continue down the path of becoming a criminal, or whether I’d become a responsible adult.”

Jesse had a chaotic childhood, which led him to develop severe anxiety. At 13 years old he turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. In eighth grade, he was arrested and expelled from school. His first experience with YES was when the judge ordered Jesse to seek services for his substance use. He quickly completed his required hours and, with a newfound motivation to stay sober, headed off to a new school.

Unfortunately, the new school was an unsupportive environment and it wasn’t long before Jesse started experiencing severe anxiety and having panic attacks. His family decided to transfer him to Emerson High School where he met Noble, a YES school-based therapist.

“Just being able to talk to someone and having them listen, was very helpful.” He appreciated the concrete skills Noble shared to help him control his anxiety.“ She would tell me to fill a pan, or bucket, with ice-cold water and put my face in it when I was beginning to panic. Surprisingly, that worked really well.”

Jesse eventually dropped out of high school to pursue his GED and was able to continue working with Noble at the YES Bellevue office. Over the next couple of years, Jesse also began seeing Dr. McGuire, YES’ onsite psychiatrist. Working together with Dr. McGuire and Noble, Jesse was diagnosed with Bi-Polar II disorder, and once on the right treatment plan, Jesse was finally able to focus on getting and staying healthy. He continued to work his recovery through YES’ Life in Recovery Group.

This year Jesse turns 21. He is currently enrolled at Lake Washington Technical College, pursuing a physical therapist degree, while also working a full-time job. He is proud of how far he has come and what he has been able to accomplish.

“I now know that not everything has to be perfect; I don’t have to do everything right away. I can take my time and know that everything will figure itself out. For the first time, I have hope for my future.”


Today more than ever, youth like Jesse need the mental health counseling, substance use treatment, and psychiatric services that YES provides, regardless of the ability to pay. Each year more than 7,500 children, youth and their family members, come to YES seeking vital services and programs to help them on the road to recovery, and more than 60% are in need of YES’ financial assistance.

With your generosity, you can impact your community in a lasting way by providing youth like Jesse with hope for a brighter future. Whether you donate $5 or $500, every gift will make a difference in the life of a child or youth seeking hope and recovery.

Donate today!
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