The YMCA of Greater Seattle raised $133,050 for the Y Social Impact Center during their March 25 virtual fundraiser. The event, Art of Resiliency, included both informative and entertaining programming.
The Y Social Impact Center was formed in 2020 when Nexus Youth and Families merged with the Accelerator YMCA. Some of the vital services the Y Social Impact Center provides to youth and young adults in crisis include behavioral health counseling, employment resources and education, shelter and housing options, violence prevention programs, and support for foster care alums.
Making an Impact
To begin the fundraiser, Loria Yeadon, President, and CEO of YMCA Greater Seattle shared the center’s success of serving 5,500 young people and their families in 2020. The ability to serve thousands is thanks in part to the three new youth in crisis residential buildings for housing located in Auburn, Tacoma, and Capitol Hill.
The impact of these residential buildings was shared with a video testimonial from a young woman, moved to tears, as she moved into a room at the new Tacoma housing center, Arlington Drive Apartments.
Remembering Dick Brugger
Highlighting the fundraiser’s theme The Art of Resiliency, the event included a tribute to Dick Brugger, who passed away in 2020. Brugger founded Auburn Youth Resources in 1976 and served as its Executive Director until 1997. Auburn Youth Resources became Nexus Youth and Families in 2017, which merged to become the Y Social Impact Center.
When Brugger wasn’t advocating for Washington’s youth, he wrote and published poetry. Brugger was named Auburn’s first Poet Laureate in 2011, holding the position for three years.
Lela Brugger, Brugger’s wife, read his published poem ‘Do Something’ during the tribute to the self-proclaimed ex-hippie priest.
“Dick had a passion, kindness, and a commitment to underserved youth and families. And it’s a legacy and model that we can all aspire to,” said Michael Jackson, Director of Philanthropy of YMCA Greater Seattle.
Following the poem, Madison Williams, a resident of the new Auburn housing center, sang a song for the audience. Williams said that music is a coping mechanism she has used to get through hard times.
Supporting Youth in Crisis
Roy Street Commons in Capitol Hill, owned by Eric and Amy Friedland, helped expand the amount of youth the Y Social Impact Project is able to house each night through an innovative partnership. When Roy Street Commons emptied during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Friedland’s partnered with the YMCA to turn it into a housing placement for youth in crisis.
“Yeah, I think it was a good fit, for the people that [we] are serving. And that aligned with our values as well. We have teenagers and so we see on many different levels the needs that young people have,” Eric Friedland said.
Burien Police Chief Ted Boe spoke about his work with the Alive & Free program through the YMCA. Alive & Free serves youth and young adults involved in gangs, violence, and the juvenile justice system.
“I think it’s been such a rough year for kids when you, when you take away their structure. And you know, for so many of these youth, sports and school is their structure, and the work that these kids have done to come through this as well as a lot of them have, is truly a testament to their, to their resiliency,” he said.
In the spirit of the fundraiser’s name, artwork created during the pandemic by staff members of the Y Social Impact Center was presented. The artwork included paintings, jewelry, clothing, and collages.
If you would like to support the work of the Y Social Impact Center you may do so by contributing here.
To write this article, the Auburn Examiner watched the fundraiser (available on YouTube), reviewed information from the Y Social Impact event recap, Nexus Youth and Family website, Y Social Impact website.
This is not a sponsored post.