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‘I’m not really ashamed of who I am anymore’ The Seattle Times Features YES Client Luis

Lidia Harding
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The Seattle Times Fund for the Needy Luis

‘I’m not really ashamed of who I am anymore’: Eastside kids get counseling and support as anxiety is on the rise

By: Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times

Luis Rodriguez didn’t really want to get counseling at Youth Eastside Services. “I didn’t think anything was wrong with me,” said the junior at Bellevue’s Interlake High.

Looking back, though, he can see why his mother wanted him to go. He was in middle school, shy and had a hard time dealing with his emotions. He would blow up at his older sister Alondra, and she with him. There was a lot of screaming and pushing.

Plus, he had questions about his identity. He was born in the United States, but his parents came from Mexico. “Where am I from?” he asked himself. “Who am I?”

Youth Eastside Services (YES), one of 12 organizations that benefit from The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy, helped him become comfortable in his own skin — no easy task for an adolescent navigating two cultures and what’s been called a mental-health crisis among the young.

“I’m not really ashamed of who I am anymore,” Rodriguez said.

YES has helped other family members as well, including Alondra. The siblings progressed from counseling to participating in a cultural-empowerment program called Latino HEAT (Hispanos En Accíon Together).

Their mother, Maribel, said she’s seen amazing changes in both children as they developed self-confidence and determination.

Visit the Seattle Times Luis’ story.


We are so grateful to be included again in the Seattle Times Fund for the Needy. This year our community really stepped up! YES received $76,000 from the campaign, about $20,000 more than we have ever received!  Help us spread the word about our mental health counseling services so that other youth like Luis may benefit from it. Please share this article on your Facebook page or email it to your friends.
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