by Courtney Oliver, Executive Director

As we sit at the beginning of April, many in our community are filled with mixed emotions, especially our youth. March started off seemingly full of new beginnings; vaccines were picking up speed, lots of students were going back to in-person learning and the weather was turning towards warmth and sunshine. There was a lot of hope and excitement.

Then, in the middle of March, we received devastating news that reshaped our community and imprinted the lives of youth. What many of our youth have experienced over the past few weeks has been trauma. I have been able to work firsthand with youth at both BHS and BYS around this trauma. While a lot of good work has been done by many over the past few weeks, I also know the work is not done. 

From a counseling perspective, our work is just beginning. Over the coming weeks, perhaps months, the shock that many youth are feeling after the tragedy will shift to grief and they will need support. Those who were close to the tragedy may want to start talking as they process their complicated emotions. The abundance of support and services that have been offered recently may no longer be as available or affordable and, as a result, young people might feel isolated. This is when Bainbridge Youth Services becomes even more vital. We understand that grief has its own timeline and it is in the next few weeks and months that I fully expect our appointment requests to increase and free counseling to be most needed. 

I have been so proud of our community and how we have all stepped up and worked together to support youth and their families. BYS will continue to be here for them.