Board Chair Phil Crocker
We welcomed dozens of old friends and new neighbors to our new Youth Services Center in Kirkland on Friday, March 29, 2013, as we unveiled the new “heart” for our organization. Our newly painted facility, surrounded by just-planted trees and landscaping, is the result of years of planning, fund-raising and design work. Now home to counseling and housing support programs, administrative offices, meeting spaces and storage for donated program supplies, the facility is the first phase of a campus development that soon will include a new Youth Haven home for ages 11-17 as well as new transitional housing.
The idea for our campus first was discussed at a board meeting in April of 2010. The idea gathered momentum with the 2011 creation of a new Strategic Plan for the agency, putting special emphasis on consolidating and enhancing programs and services for homeless youth. Consolidation of services and expanded capacity at a new multi-service campus allows us to respond comprehensively to the homeless youth on the Eastside.
In January 2012, Friends of Youth completed the purchase of our 1.7-acre property in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland. Large enough to accommodate our administrative offices, a comprehensive service center, and housing, this campus is key to our strategy for providing youth a way off the street.
The campus is on a well-traveled arterial, increasing community awareness of our services ― and, we hope, community involvement in our mission. The residential neighborhood helps us create a safe, homelike environment for our kids.
We selected a local firm, Lewis Architects, to help us create our vision for an open, colorful, engaging design that complements the neighborhood while embodying our core values.
Following a ground-breaking ceremony in June 2012, the former Grace Chapel building was transformed into a warm and welcoming facility. Wood siding in a rainbow of colors and a colorful kinetic sculpture draws the eye of passersby. A brick courtyard with benches, flagpole and colorful plantings welcomes youth and visitors at the front entrance. Inside, the warmth of wood combined with soft colors creates a calm and homelike atmosphere. Soaring walls of glass open the southeast corner of the building to the street intersection as well as to the rising sun.
Public officials, colleagues from many human services agencies, and local residents in the neighborhood gathered for a first look and personal tours our new home at a March Open House reception. Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride, a former staff member at Friends of Youth, welcomed the organization to Kirkland. King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert congratulated Friends of Youth on their commitment to fully address youth homelessness on the Eastside.
Friends of Youth CEO Terry Pottmeyer thanked and recognized the partners who brought the new facility to life: Lewis Architects, Scott Construction and Common Ground Affordable Housing Solutions. Friends of Youth Board Chair Phil Crocker thanked donors and supporters who have contriubted to the capital campaign to build the Kirkland Campus. The campaign continues as we work to raise $7.5 million to complete the new “heart” of Friends of Youth.
We look forward to partnering with the community to ensure safe places, caring support and healthy relationships for every young person in our care.