Yana Finds Support at Bellevue’s Teen Center, The Club
Growing up with a mother who struggled with alcohol use negatively affected Yanna’s school work, relationships, and emotional health. “Between bullies at school and the criticism from my mom, I started losing a lot of confidence. I started to believe everything everyone else was saying.”
Yana, a senior at Sammamish High School, has been attending the Bellevue Boys & Girls Club ever since she was a little girl, but it wasn’t until she started to get involved with the club’s teen center that she saw the biggest benefit. Caleb Nixon, a YES therapist who provides services at local community centers, invited Yanna to talk with him.
“Sometimes I’d be in Caleb’s office for hours. Just talking to him helped lift all the weight off my shoulders. He helped build up my confidence and after a while I started to find my purpose.”
Yana soon discovered her passion for helping others. Every weekend, and every week in the summer, she finds opportunities to volunteer in the community. She also joined her school’s Keystone Leadership civic group and was recognized with the Governor’s Community Service Award for having over 700 volunteer hours. She’s also recently won a $1,000 Qualstar Cooperative Spirit award for her community spirit.
Her favorite volunteer activity is doing outreach work to other teens. “I try to help bring people in and teach them about services The Club offers. I try and get more people involved. These days, our teen’s mental health isn’t the greatest. But having YES at the club and in schools is a great way to make a positive impact and I want more teens to know those services are there for them,” Yanna says.
She wants to encourage others to not be afraid to share their stories. That’s it’s truly a healing process. She says that once you share your story you’ll discover a lot of great and supportive people along the way.
In the future, Yana sees herself doing “what the YES counselors do,” and she wants to pursue a future in clinical or social work. “The YES counseling services at The Club really impacted me and now I want to impact others in the same positive way.”
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