Siaire Washington was a little kid with big problems. His parents had just split up, but there was much more.
“My mom had cancer around the time that my dad was in jail. My dad went to jail actually on my eleventh birthday.”
He remembers turmoil at school and confusion at home.
“I was gonna have more responsibilities at home and have to grow up kinda on my own.”
Siaire’s mom Marissa remembers, “He was probably angry, anxious and just kind of wondering how to make out different things and how life would probably turn out for him.”
Marissa saw the stress and asked Siaire's pediatrician for help. He directed them to Odessa Brown's mental health services. Importantly, the clinic puts no time limit on mental and emotional support for kids, seeing their young patients through whatever they face.
Counselor Mark Fadool knew Siaire stood at a crucial turning point, “A young kid in elementary school who's acting out because of all this pain…. Lots of kids are put in situations whether there's trauma, violence, drug abuse, food insecurity, housing insecurity, these are all the things we see every day here.”
With Mark, Siaire found a safe place to express and examine his emotions, “He would just keep, would keep asking me to tell him about it, talk to him about, let my emotions come out.”
That outlet and the decision-making tools Siaire gained with Mark have turned into success at school and as a freshman football player at O'Dea. He's protected a classmate from bullying, built new friendships, and become even closer with his mom.
“She just keeps telling me that she's proud of me for getting on the right track and fighting even though all this stuff has happened to me. She just, that's what she tells me every day that she's proud of me.”
Mom Marissa says, “It's because he always thinks of other people before himself, and I love that about him.”
It could have turned out differently, Siaire knows that. With Mark as a role model, he says he's learned an entirely new definition of manhood.
“You should speak your emotions; it takes a man to really tell somebody what he's feeling inside.”
Mark is proud too, “This transformation from him being labeled as a problem child to this amazing leader it's a real tribute.”
Seattle Children's Odessa Brown Children's Clinic
2101 E Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98122