Smiling young man

Friends of Youth History

Full History


Dr. Clinton Ostrander’s sermon, “The Church Can Do It,” is preached at the University Congregational Church.

Those interested in the problem of juvenile delinquency meet at the University Congregational Church. Those in attendance are referred to as the “founders” and include Mr. George N. Apostol, Mrs. Ellen Bakke, Mrs. R.R. Montell, Mrs. Pearl Motter (now Mrs. Earl Gerow), Mrs. Alta Purpis, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Starkweather, Mrs. Clara G. Woodson (a visitor from St. Louis), and Mrs. Joseph Matsen.


Friends of Youth is incorporated by attorney Joseph Matsen with these stated purposes: to secure private Christian foster homes; to establish group homes for dependent boys and girls in the state; to study needs and encourage community action to solve problems.


Research into state laws for juvenile care and speakers from Juvenile Court. Judge William G. Long tells the group that Jewish and Catholic churches are taking care of problem youth but Protestant churches are not able to.


With S.L. McNamee as President, the group locates 88 couples for foster homes. The group does not yet do placements and there are no paid workers.


The group leases a ten-room house on Green Lake for grade-school boys and girls. It is donated by the owner almost rent-free, and Mr. and Mrs. Dragseth are the first paid houseparents. The home is discontinued after three months for a variety of reasons.

The second group home is rent-free and unpaid for, as are the services of the houseparents, Mr. and Mrs. Ward Griffin. The Griffins had responded to an editorial in the Seattle P.I.–on December 18, 1952–asking, “Where Is the House?,” appealing for someone to open a home for boys released from the state institution at Chehalis. The Griffins had been put in touch with Friends of Youth through the P.I. and the State Department of Institutions. The first home is on the west side of Lake Washington in Renton.

The Seattle Council of Churches offers Friends of Youth free office space for its first office, manned by volunteers.


Friends of Youth buys the second Griffin Home on Lake Washington Blvd. North, a white mansion on the site of the present home.


Gordon Grant, a trained social worker, is hired as a part-time Administrative Assistant. Six months later he would become the Executive Secretary.


The State Department of Public Assistance approves the Friends of Youth for payment of children in its care, up to $100 a month per child.


R.C. Buckland becomes Acting Executive Secretary.


Douglas Anderson becomes Executive Secretary.


Appeals are made to churches to bail Friends of Youth out of a $50,000 deficit.


Friends of Youth is accepted by U.G.N. for financial support: $15,870 or 44% of the total budget.


Wayne Strom becomes Executive Secretary.


Friends of Youth contracts with Clayton E. Nordstrom, Executive Director of the Methodist Children's Home in Detroit, for consultation in planning future goals. The result: a report of study and recommendations.


Trustees authorize the Executive Secretary and Finance Committee to prepare a preliminary budget for operating a second group home. Friends of Youth must raise $12,000 from private sources.


100% turnover of houseparents each year—five 24-hour days are too taxing.


Capital Development Campaign begins under the leadership of Walter J. Reid.


Matsen House is dedicated.


John Fabian becomes Executive Director.

Groundbreaking for McEachern House.


Outreach Program grant is awarded by State Department of Law and Justice.


Joe O'Coyne becomes Executive Director.


Change in staffing at Griffin Home to 8-hour shift model for Child Care Workers.


Robert Lillie becomes Executive Director.


Talbot House is rented at 1919 Talbot Road in Renton, under special-use permit as a halfway house for Griffin Home graduates. Houseparents are hired.


J. Howard Finck becomes Executive Director.


Staffing at Talbot House shifts its model, akin to Griffin Home; reflects movement from halfway house to emancipation program.

Purchase of new Talbot house at 8080 169th St. NE, Redmond.


Griffin Home contract with the State of Washington is now at 24 beds, Talbot at 8 (12 licensed).


A fire damages Talbot House in Redmond; damaged wing is restored two months later.

Issaquah Youth and Family Program begins; includes short-term shelter foster homes, 24-hour crisis line. Office is at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 745 Front Street North, Issaquah.


“R House” for youth is established in agency-owned building near Issaquah.

Recruitment, installation of “cluster homes” is completed for Talbot House. First girl is accepted into residence.

Griffin Home program is strengthened with sexual abuse specialty, heavier staffing, more structure.


House for office is purchased in Issaquah at 414 Front Street North.

Youth service bureau is established with Youth Eastside Services assisting in Issaquah.

Total short- and long-term foster homes under license to Friends of Youth is now at 18.

United Way allocation is $194,712. Total budget is over $1 million, including King County, Bellevue, Redmond, various state funds, expanded donations.

Eleven-and-a-half-acre plot is purchased adjacent to Griffin Home as buffer zone.

Plan is established for Friends of Youth for “last of twentieth century.”

Pregnancy Outreach program begins.

Day Treatment Program starts at Lake Washington Individual Progress Center; lasts for three years.


Sno-Valley Youth Service Bureau begins in partnership with Youth Eastside Services; office opens in Snoqualmie.

Bigby professional foster home opens in Woodinville with eight beds.


Street Youth Outreach program starts.

Redmond facility is converted to agency office for Drug/Alcohol Abuse and Family Living Program (formerly Talbot House program).

Parenting classes start in Issaquah and the Snoqualmie Valley.

Drug and alcohol prevention and assessment services begin in R House shelter.

Contract is assumed for Sno-Valley Youth Services Bureau; office is opened in Carnation to supplement Snoqualmie office.

Study is completed on Family Resource Center (multi-agency center for United Way agencies serving the Eastside). Office will relocate there in 1991-92.


A second shelter, Joshua House, is purchased in the Kenmore area.

Bellevue area office moves to Crossroads.

Agency budget is now $1.6 milllion; 3,500 clients are being served.

President assumes position as Board Chair, National Network of Runaway and Youth Services (headquartered in Washington, D.C.); serves position for three and a half years.

Substance abuse prevention services are offered in Snoqualmie Valley School District.


The National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP) renovates one building in agency-owned Bothell facility to provide transitional housing for five teen mothers and their babies. The Transitional Living Campus (TLC) opens.

Office is opened in Mountlake Terrace (Snohomish County) for Family Counseling, professional foster homes.

Agency budget is now $1.95 million. More girls are now served than boys. Twelve programs are offered.


Family Resource Center building is purchased in Redmond. Building is renovated and agencies begin to move in—12 agencies as of 1992; 30 eventually. Friends of Youth leads the project.

Administrative staff, volunteer program, substance abuse staff, and shelter staff move to the Family Resource Center. Foster program staff moves to space vacated at Griffin Home. Bellevue (Crossroads) office is closed.

Family Resource Center is incorporated with four agency members: Friends of Youth, Multi-Service Center of North and East King County, Youth Eastside Services, and Eastside Human Services Council. J. Howard Finck is President of the Family Resource Center Board of Directors.

Griffin Home program is restructured to provide more treatment. Griffin Home manager is hired.

Funds are awarded from Snohomish County United Way for shelter and transitional housing for homeless youth.

Riverview Youth and Family Services opens Carnation office.


Redmond facility is converted from drug/alcohol abuse office to treatment and family foster home.

Snohomish County office is moved from Mountlake Terrace to Everett.

Lobsterfest '92 raises $11,000 net; very successful special event with major volunteer involvement.

$767,899 of a federal grant is awarded to provide capital and five years operating funding for Transitional Housing for homeless teen mothers at Arbor House in Bothell.

Dramatic Production Coming 2 is transferred to Friends of Youth. Teens present the substance abuse prevention program to schools and groups statewide.


The agency’s budget is now $3 million.

Tree House in North Bend opens for young teen parents.

Arbor House opens in temporary housing in Everett.

A collaborative program, Eastside Healthy Start, begins operation with Friends of Youth as the lead agency.

Youth Haven, Bellevue Shelter programs open.

Griffin Home celebrates its 40th anniversary with weeklong activities.


J. Howard Finck joins the Board of Council of Accreditation of Services for Families and Children, Chair of Western Accreditation Commission.

New Ground opens at rental units in Everett.

Accreditation process begins.

R House (shelter program in Issaquah) begins the transition to long-term foster care.


J. Howard Finck receives the Regional Award for Human Services Leadership (Rabbi Raphael H. Levine Community Services Award).


New Ground facility (agency-owned) is completed; youths move over from rental facility.

Kirkland Foster Home is purchased by the agency.

Agency initiates Capital Campaign to expand Issaquah office; purchases lot adjacent to existing site.

Agency gains accreditation through Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children, Inc.

Lobsterfest dinner and auction raises $31,000.

Family Resource Center repays loan to agency.

Budget is now at $3.6 million.

Successful Capital Campaign raises funds to begin expansion of Issaquah Youth and Family Program office.


Agency partners with Youth Eastside Services to offer SUCCESS Mentoring in Issaquah.


First residents move into Avondale Park; Sand Point teen mom program begins renovation of facility.

Kirkland Teen Center is established; in the process of finding a location.

Mentoring and Lower Snoqualmie Youth Programs are established.

First Friends of Youth Summer Soiree held at the home of Tom and Teri Olson-Miller.

First Friends of Youth Jazz Cruise aboard the M.V. Kirkland raises $30,000.


Kirkland Teen Center opens at Post 99, Kirkland (temporary site).

Sand Point teen mom program opens.

Second annual Friends of Youth Summer Soiree is held at the Olson-Miller home; second annual Friends of Youth Jazz Cruise exceeds previous year's total.


Agency is re-accredited through Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children, Inc.

Third annual Friends of Youth Summer Soiree is held at Olson-Miller home.

Third annual Friends of Youth Jazz Cruise is held.


Friends of Youth celebrates its 50th year in existence.

Agency kicks off largest-ever capital campaign: $5.5 million Griffin Home Campaign to refurbish existing homes and build two new Foster Homes.

Fourth annual Friends of Youth Jazz Cruise helps celebrate half a century.


Friends of Youth breaks ground at Griffin Home.

The Landing is opened at the Bellevue YMCA one night a week. The only overnight shelter on the Eastside for youth, it quickly grows to four nights a week.


New therapeutic foster home opens in Haller Lake.

Griffin Home Capital Campaign reaches $6.1 million fundraising goal.

First Friends of Youth Tee Off Fore Kids Golf Tournament and Dinner is held at Trilogy Redmond Ridge.

Griffin Home Capital Campaign donors are thanked at Soiree at Olson-Miller home.

Construction of two new foster homes is completed at Griffin Home. Homes will house boys during refurbishment of Matsen and McEachern houses.


Complete refurbishment of Matsen and McEachern houses at Griffin Home is completed.

Grand Opening of Griffin Home.

Agency takes over management of Neighborhood Schoolhouse, a successful Redmond Elementary-based after-school program offering classes and clubs for youth and parenting education for adults.

Friends of Youth, with Tully’s Coffee and Antioch University, open Tully’s at Antioch. Program offers valuable job-skills training to Friends of Youth clients and revenue for all agency programs.

Agency is re-accredited through Council on Accreditation of Services for Families and Children, Inc.

Second annual Friends of Youth Tee Off Fore Kids Golf Tournament and Dinner is held at Trilogy Redmond Ridge with the addition of an auction; achieves over $28,000 net profit for agency programs.

New homes built on Griffin Home campus are opened as Howard’s House, in honor of J. Howard Finck, Friends of Youth president; a therapeutic foster home; and Colin-Ferguson House, an independent living home for boys transitioning out of Griffin Home.


Friends of Youth teams with Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream to operate a Partner Shop in Seattle’s Ballard business district. The shop provides youth training and employment opportunities, co-marketing benefits with socially responsible Ben & Jerry’s, and revenue for agency programs.

The Landing grows to five nights a week.

President J. Howard Finck moves to part-time President Emeritus position to develop new Related Supporting Organization (Friends of Youth Foundation).

Third annual Friends of Youth Tee Off Fore Kids Golf Tournament and Dinner Auction is held at Trilogy Golf Club at Redmond Ridge.

Edward A. Belleba is hired as new President and Chief Executive Officer.