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Eastside Agency Friends of Youth Breaks Ground on New Campus

The Eastside 60-year-old nonprofit service agency is moving its headquarters from Redmond and consolidating its program for youth in crisis to one location in the Kingsgate area.

Nonprofit group Friends of Youth has broken ground on a new campus in the Totem Lake/Kingsgate area of Kirkland, where it will move its headquarters from Redmond.

The ceremonial shovels were bought out Wednesday at the site of the former church Grace Chapel at 13116 NE 132nd Street.

“It’s perfect for us,” Friends of Youth CEO Terri Pottmyeer told Kirkland Patch earlier, referring to the two-acre site. “This is a good place for us to have a center of gravity.”

The group that serves children in need will immediately renovate the chapel as its administrative headquarters and in October start work on adding “Youth Haven” crisis housing for up to 10 young people in need of a place to stay.

Friends of Youth bought the site last year from Grace Chapel, which experienced a decline in its congregation size and moved to Snohomish County.

The acquisition is part of Friends of Youth’s strategic plan which calls for a more visible “heart” of its operations, the consolidation of its Youth Haven program for young people in crisis and, in the near future, additional transitional housing for formerly homeless young adults working toward employment and educational goals.

“I think this is just an amazing addition to Kirkland,” said Mayor Joan McBride, who several years ago worked for Friends of Youth as a development assistant and community relations coordinator. “This is going to give Friends of Youth -- a 60-year-old agency -- more space in a city very committed to human services.

“Friends of Youth has had programs in Kirkland for years. They provide a huge breadth of services, for everything from kids in crisis to young mothers. I’m thrilled.”

Friends of Youth provides services to children, young adults and families in need at 21 sites in 17 Eastside and Snohomish County cities. It operates New Ground Kirkland, a transitional facility that provides housing and support in education, employment and health care for six young adults 18-21.

Pottmeyer said the group has reached out to the neighborhood to alleviate concerns, both to individual neighbors and to the Evergreen Hill Neighborhood Association.

“People have expressed concerns about things they assume will happen,” she said. “They’re afraid kids will come and loiter here. This is not a drop-in center. These are kids we have screened. We have 24-hour supervision. Our success is dependent on being woven into the fabric of the community.”

For more information, visit www.friendsofyouth.org.

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