Ken Explores Deeper Issues through Art and Counseling
Ken, who prefers the pronouns they/them, was always naturally artistic. “One day I just picked up a pencil, and just kept holding it,” so it wasn’t difficult for their counselor, Noble, to suggest Ken enter YES’ Poster Exhibition for Mental Health Awareness.[one_third] [/one_third][one_third][/one_third][one_third_last] [/one_third_last]
“I didn’t plan out what I would draw. It just came to me. Instead of drawing one person, I drew a bunch of different people, all varied amongst each other, to show that everyone has something going on,” said Ken.
Due to bullying and abuse, Ken developed PTSD symptoms and sought out counseling services when they were in eighth grade and able to access counseling through YES’ school-based services at Big Picture School in Bellevue. Ken’s in-school counselor suggested they check out BGLAD, YES’ LGBTQ+ support group, to help them find a sense of belonging. Now, six years later, Ken has been the longest-attending participant.
“At first it was really awkward, but I quickly warmed up. Everyone there is your friend. BGLAD helped me reach out and open up to others,” Ken said.
Ken continued with Youth & Family Mental Health Counseling at YES to help them work through some family and gender challenges. Ken says that YES “helps me a lot when it comes to just living.” They have learned to take it one day at a time, and to find joy in the details of life.
Now as a high school graduate, Ken is attending Evergreen College this fall and pursuing their passion for comic book art. They hope to create narratives that promote social justice and empower minorities of all genders, races, religions, and sexual orientations, letting them know they are not alone.
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