Submitted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County

In response to the critical need for mental and behavioral health support among children, especially in communities where English is a second language, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County is pioneering efforts to make a meaningful impact. With a particular focus on LaVenture Middle School, Mental Health Specialist, Yesica Solano and Site Coordinator, Marco Rivera are leading initiatives to provide vital assistance to students navigating their emotions and mental health.

Yesica Solano, a  Mental Health Specialist with deep roots all over Skagit County, expresses the significance of early intervention: “These kids have the knowledge and opportunity to address behaviors and their trauma at an early age, which is huge for me.” Solano and the organization work directly with children, offering a safe space to explore and understand their emotions, fostering emotional intelligence from an early stage.

Census Bureau data reveals that in Skagit County, 20% of the population identifies as Hispanic, a percentage that is notably higher within the school system. Marco Rivera, a Site Coordinator at Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County, emphasizes the importance of understanding students’ circumstances to provide effective support, stating, “Knowing their background, knowing where they come from, and knowing what their culture is like, sometimes you have to take a different approach.”

At LaVenture Middle School, where two-thirds of the student body identifies as Hispanic, and 84% in the Boys & Girls Clubs classroom, the organization is addressing the unique needs of its diverse community. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County recognizes the correlation between cultural understanding and successful communication in providing mental health support.

Internal data from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County indicates that participants in the social and emotional development program have exhibited better outcomes compared to peers in other parts of the state. A “healthy youth survey” taken by students in Washington further underscores the positive impact of the club’s programs on the emotional well-being of participants.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County remain committed to creating a nurturing environment for children to thrive. By addressing mental health needs through innovative programs and culturally sensitive approaches, the organization aims to empower young minds in Skagit County and beyond.

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