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June 08, 2022

Prioritizing our Youth's Physical and Emotional Safety

A message from our Leadership Team responding to recent tragedies

Dear Friends-Seattle community,

We’re reaching out in solidarity to acknowledge and hold space for the tragic events of the past few weeks. Buffalo. Uvalde. Tulsa. Philadelphia. The list keeps getting longer. Our deepest condolences are with the families of those who have been lost to gun violence and white supremacist violence.

At Friends-Seattle, our youth and staff alike are feeling the impact of these mass shootings and navigating big emotions: grief, fear, anger, helplessness. Our mentors are having conversations with youth to support them in asking questions and processing these emotions. We are collectively holding space for open discussion about these tragedies and our own organizational safety plans.

Racism and violence have no place in our schools and in our communities. We are deeply committed to providing individualized, culturally competent and trauma-informed professional mentoring to each of our youth. We celebrate the emphasis our mentors place on meeting each of our youth right where they are, building relationships on love. Our mentors partner closely with parents, caregivers and teachers to ensure youth feel as safe as possible at home, at school and out in the community.

Because safety is our highest priority, we are currently evaluating our active shooter procedure to make sure all staff are prepared should such a situation arise. We maintain our ongoing commitment to centering the voices of our youth and families. We are taking our youth's concerns seriously and taking steps to connect them with the mental health resources they need.

To our youth and families: We are here for you, no matter what. If you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to your youth's mentor or any of us on the Leadership Team.

And to everyone who makes this program possible with your time, efforts, and financial support, thank you. Thank you for ensuring our youth have a safe space and additional support to process these difficult, traumatic events.

In community,

The Friends–Seattle Leadership Team

If you would like to contact your elected officials to demand action, check out Everytown for Gun Safety and Brady for more resources.