On May 18, Redmond-based Friends of Youth (FOY) will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a reception at the Harbor Club in Bellevue from 4 to 6 p.m., featuring Wayne Strom as the keynote speaker.
Strom was the nonprofit’s executive director from 1962 to 1968. Before he joined the Redmond organization, Strom was a church pastor. He wanted to start or work with an organization that provided shelter and guidance for at-risk adolescent boys.
Strom found what he was looking for in FOY, an agency that operates the only overnight youth shelters on the Eastside. FOY also offers various services for young people including in-home family support for young parents of newborns, counseling, therapeutic foster care, residential treatment and transitional housing for homeless young people and teen mothers.
“I really cared deeply about what happened to the youngsters we were working with,” he said.
One of Strom’s favorite memories as executive director was introducing the young men, who were 14 to 18 years old, to the outdoors. He said they would take backpacking trips in the area, allowing the teens to learn how to work together.
Although his speech is still in the works, Strom said he will be talking about those early days of FOY and highlight the organization’s different community supporters.
Strom was 27 when he began his tenure with FOY. When he left, he went back to school. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles and has remained in the Los Angeles area to this day. Strom, now 76, is currently a professor of behavioral science in the business school at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.
Even though he is two states away, Strom has seen how FOY has grown since he was executive director. He said the nonprofit is nothing like what it was when he was with it and is very proud to be associated with it.
“What they have done is beautiful in terms of services (they provide for youths),” Strom said. “And I just applaud them for what they are doing.”
He added that one of the things he is looking forward to at the reception is congratulating and thanking the FOY board, staff and volunteers for their accomplishments. Strom is also looking forward to seeing some of the people he worked with back then, whom he hasn’t seen since he moved to California.
The Harbor Club is located at 777 108th Ave. N.E. in Bellevue.
To register for the reception, visit https://community.friendsofyouth.org/reception. Donations can be made at https://community.friendsofyouth.org/donatereception.
For more information, call (425) 869-6490, ext. 317 or email email@example.com.