2019 Stories: Creating Safe Spaces for Teens to Realize their Potential

As we look towards a new year, we simultaneously reflect back on our community relationships and the lived experiences of youth, children, and families across King County — honest and real stories we are fortune to share.

In 2019, Best Starts invested $28.8 million into programs and services that support our young children from elementary school through college and into their careers.

From connecting adolescents to mental health resources and services to creating safe spaces for teens, our community partners support our children and young adults every step of the way. Across King county, Best Starts’ partners are working hard every day to ensure that every child, young adult, parent, and family they support is happy, healthy, safe, and thriving.

View our 2019 Digital Report here.


In our second story, meet Ashley.

“The Den made me the person I am today. I am more confident with myself. I know how to talk to other teens and adults, and I’m not afraid to stand up for others.”

“We create a space for teens who often feel isolated to know that they are not alone,” explains Angela Dodd, the Den’s Director of Youth & Intervention Services. Angela, along with her colleagues, engages teens ages 12 through 18 years three days a week with programming that focuses on life skills and leadership opportunities.

Through the Den, young people like Ashley can participate in Datewise, a peer educator program that trains teens to present at local high schools on healthy teen dating and how to recognize and prevent abuse.

And while Ashley thrives on supporting others, she has become an inspiration to her community as well. As Angela shares, “I really admire Ashley’s openness to everything and her willingness to help no matter what’s going on in her life.”

 As Ashley gets ready for the next chapter of her life, with plans to study criminal justice and forensic science, there’s no doubt that giving back to her community will be a part of her future. The Den brings positivity into the lives of many teens, helping them grow into adults with a strong sense of community and belonging. 


Read more stories here.

Learn more about how we’re SUSTAINING THE GAIN.

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