Community March 11, 2021

Community Spotlight: Bainbridge Youth Services

Since 1970, Bainbridge Youth Services (BYS) has focused on young adults’ social and emotional wellbeing. As a proud community partner, we strongly support the vital work that their staff and volunteers do. From their youth outreach events to the services they provide, they are impacting many lives. 

History of Bainbridge Youth Services

In 1962, youth counseling was only available in Bremerton, making it difficult for young adults on Bainbridge Island to find mental health services. Bainbridge residents created Bainbridge Youth Services to provide a safe space for the community’s youth. BYS was monumental in supporting young adults on their mental health journey. Taking inspiration from Bremerton’s Child Guidance Center, BYS started a confidential counseling program, and their programs and events grew over time. Their offerings include Summer Work Internships in partnership with the Rotary Club of Bainbridge and the Peer Tutoring Program.

Our Windermere Bainbridge Island colleagues greatly appreciate these important programs. “I’ve worked with BYS in the past through Raising Resilience, and I’ve supported BYS’s programs and events. I see tremendous value in their on-site, free counseling services and their student empowerment events. Students have shared very moving testimonials at fundraising breakfasts,” says Broker Julie Miller, M.Ed

Community Impact

2020 was a challenging year for many organizations across Kitsap County, but that didn’t stop BYS. In 2020, BYS shifted focus to virtual events in order to continue supporting youth on Bainbridge Island. “We have been so impressed by how the youth in Kitsap County are so resilient during the pandemic. BYS’s counseling services have given youth a safe place to explore their feelings around the pandemic, grieve over missing events, friendships, and in-person learning,” says Courtney Oliver, Executive Director of Bainbridge Youth Services. “Our youth have persevered through creative outlets like the creation of a Pandemic Bucket List and Pen Pal letters.” 

In 2020, Bainbridge Youth Services provided 414 youth with counseling services and skill-building programs, served 161 students of all ages through Peer Tutoring, recognized 16 youth through the Compassionate Act Celebration, connected 118 students to Career Exploration Services, and worked with 342 parents in Parent Education programs. 

hope luminaria

On Feb. 5, 2021, over 600 community members’ decorated luminaria bags were on display in downtown Winslow for BYS’s “Hope Glows”, a free event to celebrate hope in action. Photo courtesy of BYS. View decorated luminarias.

How You Can Get Involved

Bainbridge Youth Services welcomes community members’ support. To get connected, visit their Get Involved page, where you can volunteer, share ideas, and nominate youth. “Consistently offering free counseling, employment help, tutoring and so much more has proven to literally save lives on Bainbridge Island,” says Broker Shannon Dierickx, who is a former BYS board member. “BYS believes in our youth and being a small part of this organization is one of my proudest endeavors.” Bainbridge Youth Services is part of the fabric of our strong community, and we thank all those involved for their continued efforts to support and empower future generations.