Posted by Carl Gerhardt on Jun 19, 2018
On 6/19/2018, Members of the Montgomery County Youth Services spoke to the Magnolia Rotary membership about their organization. Pictured above from left to right are: Carl Gerhardt (Magnolia Rotary Club Treasurer), Danette Suding (CEO of Montgomery County Youth Services [MCYS]), and Laura Starzyk (Director of Development for MCYS).
Danette Suding gave the presentation and told everyone that her organization simply does all it can to save the lives of youth in Montgomery County by providing services including a crisis hotline monitored by professional counselors, individual, Group and Mental Health Family Counseling, local Group Counseling and Skills Development, the BridgeWay Emergency Youth Shelter, healthy supports for pregnant and parenting teens, a Parenting and Youth Skills Groups Program, school Prevention Presentations and Crisis Counseling, a theraputic summer camp called Camp Watsitumi, and a street outreach program for homeless teens. MCYS was established in 1979 by a group of community leaders who developed juvenile justice prevention services for at-risk youth in the community. MCYS obtained their not for profit 501 (c) (3) status in 1979.
Their vision is to be a child's bridge from challenges today to achievements tomorrow. Their mission is to provide crisis counseling, shelter programs, and prevention services to strengthen families, keep youth in school, and prepare them to be productive citizens. Their philosophy is  seek to empower youth and their families by building on their existing strengths, expanding their opportunities, and enhancing their lives. MCYS is funded by both state and federal funds, as well as private funds.
Danette Suding then showed everyone a movie about teen bullying and what some of the teens said about how great MCYS is. Danette also told everyone that in 2016, Montgomery County Texas had the highest instance of suicide in Texas and that MCYS has been working hard to reduce that rate. Danette also told everyone about some individual stories of kids MCYS has rescued.
When asked what MCYS though was the reason for the high suicide rate in Montgomery County, she responded that social media and the high stress level on kids to succeed by families and friends. Future plans are to build a boys and a girls shelter since housing for teens at risk is one of the reasons that MCYS has not been able to help more at risk teens. For more information about MCYS, go to
A photo of Zach Richmond (Shelter Capital Campaign Committee) explaining what a great job that Danette Suding and Laura Starzyk do on a daily basis at MCYS: