Mary’s Place Club Holds Social for Area Teens
Written by Kiki Caputo ’22, Mary’s Place Club
Last Monday night at Seattle Academy, the Mary’s Place Club hosted twenty-six teens experiencing homelessness for an evening of fun, food, and education. The teens came from four shelters around Seattle from Burien to North Seattle. We started the evening getting to know each other through playing games and taking pictures in a photo booth.
After everyone had some fun, we welcomed three speakers: 1) Dr. Joe from Mary’s Place who talked about mental health and some of the challenges teens in shelters face; 2) Melanie Reed, Director of College Advising, who talked to the kids about the possibilities of college, the process for applying, and financial aid; and 3) Sarah Bigler who held an interactive discussion about healthy relationships. Many of these kids have experienced or know someone who has experienced unhealthy relationships. These teens are often overlooked in shelter. Their backgrounds put them at greater risk for teenage anxiety, social pressures, and mental health issues.
After listening to our speakers, we had dinner, an ice cream sundae bar, and a shopping event. The club has been collecting clothing donations at SAAS and that evening we set up a boys’ store and a girls’ store. Each of the teens got to go into the store and pick out an item.
The event was a great success, and we learned a lot from the teens who attended. These kids are just like us, but they have some challenges – some were refugees who struggle because of their accents, some have developmental disabilities, some have parents who are sick. Almost all of the kids have big dreams including college and becoming a doctor. The most valuable part of the evening was not the gifts of clothing and gift cards but the opportunity for these kids to play ping pong, eat ice cream, and feel “normal” for a night.Photo Above: Mark Wensnahan, Mary’s Place Club Faculty Advisor, plays chess with a teen.
Photo Below: The teens enjoyed the photo booth.