Bainbridge Youth Services: Forging New Paths Amidst Adversity

As the island’s rainy season set in, Bainbridge Youth Services moved into a literal beam of sunshine. In a beautiful yellow building at 8533 Madison Avenue N, right across from the Bainbridge Aquatic Center, Cezanne Allen and her team earnestly work to ensure that young adults have easy access to guidance and growth - however one might define those terms.

BYS - 8533 Madison Avenue N, Bainbridge Island WA 98110

How did Bainbridge Youth Services start on the island?

In 1962, a group of thoughtful community members and school administrators became aware of the need for youth mental health services on the island. Connecting with support systems in nearby cities, BYS first contracted services through Bremerton and, in the 1990s, hired their first professional counselor. Today, six part-time, licensed, mental health counselors can meet with young adults to aid them in their personal evolution.

What kind of services do they offer? What problems can they help with?

BYS betters the mental, social, and emotional wellbeing of those between the age of thirteen to twenty-one, regardless of where they live. They do so through barrier-free access to mental health services, diversified outreach programs, and community organization partnerships, such as Bainbridge Island School District.

Their 3 primary services are:

  1. Free, confidential counseling: Licensed, mental health care professionals help those who are coming of age in a complicated and challenging world.

  2. Think Tank Tutoring: Students receive academic support from high school student tutors.

  3. A summer internship program and digital jobs board: Teenagers find work or career experience.

When should individuals turn to BYS for help over others, like their friends?

Whenever a young adult wants to talk to a trained professional who they can trust and has no agenda other than supporting them, BYS’ doors are open.

What is an appointment like? What can someone expect will happen when meeting with a counselor or doctor?

Upon opening the door, they will find a warm and welcoming space. Brittany at the front desk will offer a mug of tea or water. A counselor will welcome them to a cozy room with big windows and comfortable chairs. They will listen well to the individual’s goals, and both will work together to reach them.

Whether one appointment fits someone’s needs, or weekly visits are more effective, BYS will aid whoever needs help meeting their self-defined goals.

BYS’ additional focuses include:

  • The Compassionate Action Celebration: Members of our community honor young people for their acts of service or compassion.

  • Juvenile Court Diversion Program: Juvenile offenders can work through a restorative justice approach to making amends.

  • Lead from Within Leadership Program: High school changemakers learn ways to strengthen the foundation of their own wellbeing and personal leadership toolkit, and encourage others to do the same.

Interested in getting involved? Bainbridge Youth Services has several opportunities to volunteer or donate. Thank you BYS for providing exceptional care for our youth, we are grateful!