The recent death of a Juanita High School student and similar tragedies over the last year or more have prompted Bellevue-based Youth Eastside Services (YES) to create a drop-in support group that meets each Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in Kirkland.
“It’s an opportunity for students to get together and share,” said Maria Lamarca Anderson, a YES community relations specialist. “It's our way of being part of the community and helping youth who have been affected by tragedy, whether they knew the student or not.”
The death last week at a residence in the Norkirk neighborhood was initially investigated as a suicide, according to Kirkland Police.
Lt. John Haslip of the Kirkland Police Department confirmed Wednesday that the person who died was a Juanita High student, and said investigators continue to review the circumstances. "There was a death, and the case is still an open investigation," he said.
Patch typically does not report suicides, but sources in the community say the student's death might have been the result an accidental shooting. No charges have been filed in the case.
Whatever the cause, it was not the only tragic death in recent months of a Kirkland teen. In June, a Kirkland Junior High school student committed suicide. Patch posted a story after receiving reports of police activity in the Highlands neighborhood, and the next day a letter from the school went out to parents. Patch subsequently received unconfirmed reports of two previous suicides by students of Lake Washington High during the 2011-12 school year, and of two teen suicides in the community the year before.
The drop-in support group meets at the YES office in the Forbes house at Juanita Beach Park (11829 97th Avenue NE) each Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., as long as it is necessary, said Lamarca Anderson. YES counselors will be on hand, and all students are welcome.
There is no cost and pre-registration is not required.
Founded in 1968, YES is a service agency for Eastside kids and families coping with challenges such as emotional distress, substance abuse and violence. It operates offices in Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond.
What resources do you think benefit youth struggling with tragedy? What can we, as a community, do to help them? Please tell us in the comments.