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Teens at Risk | Resources and Volunteers can help in Spokane, WA
Teens at Risk

When there is a youth in crisis,

there is a family in crisis. 

  • "Research shows that children who know where they came from are more resilient.  They are able to handle problems, do better in school and better socially, because they know they are part of something larger than themselves," said Helen Jackson Graham, English professor.  Helen is the Houston area Freedmen's Bureau coordinator, and has 20 years of experience in African American genealogical research.  Nurture the interest and collaboration of genealogical and family history research.  Linking to other families sometimes brings you right back around to your own family.  Help them recover their historical memory.  Help them recognize they are part of one human family.  Help them discover who they are, where they came from, discover their family stories, and to feel connected and bound to their families through generations.  (Source:  Reuniting the Black Family:  Volunteers Index Freedmen's Bureau Records, by Linda Talbot, LDS Church News, November 4, 2015)    

(see Family Histories)

  • In the last 7 years, 7,000 child abduction attempts were made in the United States.  In 81% of those cases, the children got away because they knew what to do.  Parents and guardians can practice abduction scenarios with their children, reassuring them they are strong and can get away.  (The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, July 2012)

  • Among youth in 2014, 33% reported being depressed in the last year in Spokane County.  Depression among youth decreased as maternal education level increased, increased as age increased, and was more likely among females, Hispanics, and multi-racial youth.  (Spokane Counts 2015, Spokane Regional Health District) 
What You Can Do
  • Stop School Bullying and Violence.  Encourage students to form new friendships and help stop bullying, violence, and social isolation in their schools.  Many students feel bullied, left out, alone, misunderstood, without friends, or invisible.  These painful feelings lead to social isolation, which is often a precursor to bullying.  These feelings are often highlighted at lunchtime, when kids are left to fend for themselves socially.  Unfortunately, for some students, lunchtime is the hardest part of their day. Everyone needs to know that others genuinely care about them, and some schools are doing something about that.

    We Dine Together is a club at Boca Raton Community High School in Florida, where students make sure that no one in school sits alone at lunch.  The message is to make outsiders always feel included, valued and accepted by their peers.  It consists of students (including the coolest kids in school) who roam their school’s courtyard during lunch looking for students who are eating alone.  They introduce themselves, and talk with them to get to know the students and help them feel accepted.  Open a We Dine Together Chapter at your school! 

    No One Eats Alone is another program designed to help students make an effort to eat a meal with their new classmates and peers.  This lunchtime event seeks to reverse the trends of social isolation by asking students to engage in a simple act of kindness at lunch - making sure that no one is eating alone.  Learn more at https://www.nooneeatsalone.org/questions/

  • Teach children and teens to play and learn the lessons of Chess.
The murder statistic of American teens drove one man to spend more than 30 years trying to save lives through the game of chess.  Many youth make impulsive decisions that affect the rest of their lives, including jail/prison.  
Chess teaches children to apply the game of chess to their lives:
  • Learn to reason and rationalize
  • Use good sense and intelligence against deception, treachery and lies
  • Always think before they move
  • The pawns are in the front line, and there will be casualties; however, pawns can become any of the royal pieces, if they can make it to the other side of the board.
  • Gang members think they are doing the king’s business in his arm, but all the gang members are really doing is sacrificing themselves, like the pawn they truly are.  (“Life of a King,” the story of Eugene Brown, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr., Shows the Saving Power of Chess, The 700 Club, January 30, 2014)
  • Teach teens to choose mentors (parents, teachers, school counselors and other trusted adults) who have wisdom and experience, those who have their well-being at heart.  Teach them to be careful about taking advice from their peers.  Tell them, "If you want more than you now have, reach up, not across."

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

  • Report Child Abuse.  If you have concerns about the safety of a child (or teen), and believe a child is at immediate risk of severe harm or death, please call 911.   Law enforcement has the authority to shelter a child.  That is what they do, and what they are paid to do.  Child abuse is a top priority in Spokane.  Please call--do not let fear paralyze you.  To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call:
     911            Emergency

(509) 363-3333       Child Protective Services (Spokane County),
     8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m./M-F,
     or (800) 562-5624 after 4:30 p.m. and weekends. 

(509)  456-2233       Crime Check

(509)  838-6596       Crosswalk (teens)

(509)  838-4428       First Call for Help

(509)  838-4246       Goodwill's Good Guides
(a program for at-risk youth between 12 and 18)  This program targets students who struggle in school or at home, or students with social challenges.  It matches students with mentors who get more involved on a one-on-one level, both at the group meetings and in other settings.  Students are referred to Good Guides by their school counselor, but it is not available at every school; and there is a huge unmet need.

(509)  924-2350       Millwood Community Presbyterian Church
                                3223 North Marguerite Rd.
                                Spokane Valley, WA    craig@millwoodpc.org
Providing a safe place for youth in Spokane Valley to hang-out, where they can enjoy after-school and evening activities.  Students are welcome who are struggling with homelessness, poverty, learning disabilities, social challenges, and substance abuse.

(509)  624-7273       SAFeT Response Center

(509)  327-5111        Secret Witness (write:  PO Box 1205, Spokane, WA  99210)

(509)  477-2240        Sheriff’s Office 

(800)  422-4453        The National Child Abuse Hotline:  (1-800-4-A-CHILD)

(509)  242-8477        Tip-Line.  Anonymous Spokane Police Dept. phone line to report any crime that is NOT an Emergency (abuse, domestic violence, gang activity, possible drug activity, theft...)   An officer will call back to verify the information and forward the complaint to the appropriate department within 24 hours; however, after the person has reported and verified the complaint, the caller can remain anonymous.  Email:  spdtipline@spokanepolice.org   

(509)  535-3155        Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery

(866) 363-4276         Washington State's DSHS  (Dept. of Social and Health Services)

(509) 326-1190         YWCA Counseling Center - Ext 139