By joining the Celebration of Youth you can help Friends of Youth continue providing services for children, youth, and their families!

Honoring a local family with 70 years of impact!

Join a virtual celebration of Greater Seattle Youth Success

On Friday, March 26th, in a virtual event, the Greater Seattle community will honor the 70 years Friends of Youth has supported local young people in their growth and success. Founded by one family with one foster home and one child—Friends of Youth now serves 3,200 people and counting, across 24 locations regionally.

Community members are invited to join Friday, March 26th, at 11:30am for a pre-show concert with local musicians, and stories starting at noon that honor youth success.

In 1951, Ms. Iva Matsen and Dr. Clinton Ostrander, pastor of University Congregational Church, with eight co-founders established Friends of Youth to support youth success out of their deeply rooted commitment to service and love in action. Mrs. Matsen and her husband, Joe, started organizing and inspiring their friends and fellow congregation members to practice what was being preached on Sundays.

For 70 years now, Friends of Youth has been a place where young people could find a sympathetic ear, grow personally, develop life skills, and contribute positively to their communities.

Today, members of the Matsen family continue to be active and involved. The organization’s founding principles are as true today as when Mrs. Matsen first articulated them:

  • An unwavering dedication to providing quality services
  • The flexibility to meet new and emerging needs, and
  • A commitment to securing the futures of the most vulnerable community members

There is still much to do to help King County’s youth in need. The impact that one person — YOU — can make through awareness and support is tremendous. Join Friends of Youth virtually Friday, March 26th as they continue the legacy of the Matsen family and their generosity and purpose through the decades.

“Mrs. Matsen and the Matsen family are extraordinary individuals who started, shared, and to this day continue to spread a vision and shared commitment to changing the world for young people, one life at a time. As we mark Friends of Youth’s 70th Anniversary, we commemorate the profound impact and lasting legacy the Friends of Youth founders have had on the Greater Seattle area and beyond,” said Paul Lwali, Friends of Youth CEO.

Friends of Youth founder Mrs. Iva Matsen with young people, circa 1953.

Friends of Youth founder Mrs. Iva Matsen with young people, circa 1953.

About Friends of Youth:

For 70 years, Friends of Youth has journeyed with young people through challenging circumstances to celebrate their holistic growth and success. Each day, the Friends of Youth community engages over 6,500 children, youth, and families across 26 sites in 18 cities across the Puget Sound region.

Friends of Youth offers the only overnight youth shelter on the Eastside, youth development initiatives, in-home family support for young parents and guardians of children up to five years old, parent education, youth and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, therapeutic foster care, residential treatment and transitional housing for homeless young people and teen mothers.

To participate in the Celebration of Youth 2021, in a virtual world (we mean it, Avatars included!) powered by Zeacon, please visit them here.

To find more information, you can also head to their website!

RELATED READING: This community celebration for local youth is seven decades in the making!


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Eddie Cotton, a light heavyweight boxer, sharing a steak dinner with Friends of Youth’s then “Griffin Home for Boys”—a meal prepared especially for Cotton’s training for a fight that upcoming week. - Originally published in the Times Valley Bureau, October 31, 1966.

Eddie Cotton, a light heavyweight boxer, sharing a steak dinner with Friends of Youth’s then “Griffin Home for Boys”—a meal prepared especially for Cotton’s training for a fight that upcoming week. – Originally published in the Times Valley Bureau, October 31, 1966.

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