In 1973 a group of concerned parents, educators, and local civic leaders joined together with a shared goal - addressing the substance abuse crisis affecting South King County Youth. They called themselves Auburn Youth Resources, and set out to support at-risk youth in their community. What began then as a four-person organization with a budget of $35,000 would eventually become the Nexus Youth and Families of today.
In 1976 Dick Brugger was named the agencies Executive Director. With Brugger heading the agency services expanded, responding to the needs of local families as well as at-risk youth. Known for his drive and vision, Brugger brought a much-needed dynamism to Auburn Youth Resources and ushered in an era of growth and development.
By the 1980's services had expanded beyond Auburn, with the opening of the Enumclaw Youth and Family Services center. This drop-in center offered youth a safe, supportive place to gather and access services they would otherwise be unable to. The 80's also saw the first South King County youth shelter open, under the guidance of Dick Brugger. Brugger would go on to oversee the formation of the agencies first Street Outreach team in the 1990's.
Over the next twenty years, the agency would continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the community. A third office was opened in Maple Valley, a residential facility was opened to support youth under 18, and services expanded to more cities across the South King County region. In 2017 Auburn Youth Resources was re-branded as Nexus Youth and Families, emphasizing the agencies commitment to being a nexus of support and community for all South King County.
Today, Nexus Youth and Families works with over five school districts and more ten cities to bring housing support, behavioral healthcare, and case management to those in need. Our three locations employ more than 80 therapists, case managers, administrators, and direct-care staff, ensuring services are always available to clients. The agency has seen many changes over the last forty seven years, but our commitment to the community has stayed the same.
In 2019, Nexus Youth and Families announced the biggest change yet. In early November, the YMCA of Greater Seattle voted to acquire Nexus Youth and Families in an effort to expand and strengthen services provided by both organizations. With this acquisition comes the New Arcadia center, which will provide transitional housing, emergency shelter, case management, and more to at-risk youth, all in one convenient location.
“Homelessness is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. Our work and the work of so many others has led to a decline in the number of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness,” said Loria Yeadon, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Seattle. “We’re so glad to see more young people housed, but we still need to do more. By acquiring Nexus Youth and Families, we can serve more youth and young adults, find more efficiencies, and strengthen our presence in South King County so all people, especially youth, can reach their fullest selves in mind, body and spirit.”
Here at Nexus Youth and Families, we're excited to see what changes are still to come. Whatever those changes may be, our goal will be the same - to restore hope, build futures, and strengthen our communities. We've been so fortunate to be able to serve the South King County region for these last four decades, and hope we can continue to do so for many more to come.