Forum to focus on kid safety
To help parents answer the monumental question -- "How do I keep my kids safe?" -- the City of Bellevue will host an April 18 forum with experts including the Bellevue School District superintendent, a police officer assigned to schools and a mental health counselor.
"Life is so precious. Yet in the past couple of years, we've been reminded time and again by suicides or acts of violence that not every young person feels this way," said Patti Skelton-McGougan, the executive director of Youth Eastside Services, who will be a moderator at the "Keeping Kids Safe in Our Community" forum, 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, at Bellevue College's Carlson Theater (flyer).
A panel of experts from the local mental health, education, and law enforcement arenas will facilitate dialogue with the audience. In addition to Skelton-McGougan, Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo will moderate. The panelists are:
- Megan Kennedy, Mental Health Counselor, School Outreach, Youth Eastside Services;
- Danny Hanson, Violence Prevention Coordinator, Youth Eastside Services;
- Lt. Joe Nault, Supervisor, School Services Unit, Bellevue Police Department;
- Dr. Tim Mills, Superintendent, Bellevue Public Schools;
- Michelle Proulx, Bellevue School District, K-12 Counseling Curriculum Developer overseeing bullying prevention, counseling and social emotional learning programs; and
- Ilse Braun, Social Worker, Children's Hospital
Bellevue is one of the safest places to raise children. The city has the lowest number of violent crimes for its size in the state, and there are rarely more than a couple of homicides in a year here. Still, national headlines about violence and young people may be red flags.
Given the increased pace of family life and difficult economic conditions for some families, the emotional needs of young people are increasing and evolving. Challenges in the community include substance abuse and Internet bullying.
"We should all be concerned about this trend of our kids hurting themselves and each other," Skelton-McGougan argues. "That's why YES is partnering with the city and Bellevue College to bring the community together for a frank dialogue about what more we can do for young people in need."
At the forum, people will get practical tips to minimize risks, and be able to ask questions about specific concerns they have. The forum will encourage dialogue, help the public gain an understanding of signs of distress in youth and introduce prevention techniques and intervention services that create a web of support for Bellevue youth.
For more information or to submit questions for the panel, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Julie Ellenhorn at 425-452-5372.