Lorry Belhumeur, CEO for Western Youth Services

We are thrilled to feature Lorry Belhumeur, CEO for Western Youth Services on this #Giving Tuesday!  She is a champion for mental health and is dedicated to bringing hope, healing and prevention to children and families.  Her faithfulness and passion are contagious and we know you will enjoy her story! With so many amazing programs they are looking to fund, check them out on Give4 under "Local" for ways you can partner to bring their programs to more children and families in and around Orange County.

1.       When did you become involved with Western Youth Services and what led you to their organization?

I experienced an unhappy childhood with challenging and abusive family relationships, after a series of unfortunate events in my teens, I realized I was on my own. From an early age, I felt very strongly that I needed to help other children in similar situations which led me to studying to become a psychologist. My association with WYS started early on in my career as a psychologist.  After completing my Ph.D. I began working for WYS as  a psychologist.   

2.  How has becoming involved in mental health changed your perspective on the issue?

I learned how many children, families, and communities are impacted by undiagnosed or untreated mental health concerns. The numbers are staggering 1 in 5 children are living with some kind of mental illness. In 2016 we worked with 55,000 clients, directly or through one of our collaborative partnerships... and it is not enough, there are so many more that need help. 

My perspective is that mental health awareness needs to grow significantly and there is so much that can be done by caring adults. I am constantly reminded of how WYS began in 1972 led by a group of community leaders that saw a need for someplace for teens to go to stay out of trouble. The same can be done in any community, we all have children in our lives and knowing how to keep a watchful eye on changes in their behavior, knowing some basic skills on the warning signs, how to help, what not to do, and when and where to reach our for professional help can make all the difference in the world.

Teachers, schools, and other youth serving organizations are so important in the healing equation. These are people who are with our children and teens often more than we are with our own kids. They are on the front lines and have the unique perspective of literally "watching" our children. They will often see things a parent or guardian might miss. 

WYS has worked closely with school districts in Orange County, CA since the 1970s and together we have changed the trajectory of the lives of 1000s of child and their families. I have the privilege of speaking with past clients, who were provided services at school and in the community, even those who were clients decades ago that credit their time at WYS as a life saver.   Teachers rave about how our training and consultation services help them be better equipped to handle disruptive classroom behaviors.  Teachers are champions for youth.  I attribute my success to teachers who went above and beyond to meet my emotional needs as well as the educational ones.

3. What would you say is the number one cause of mental health issues in our society today?  

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are correlated with higher likelihood of suicide attempts.   When left untreated, ACEs create toxic stress that is carried forth into adulthood and future generations are associated with a full range of mental health challenges. Children that are abused, neglected, misdiagnosed or whose well-being is uncared for in some way must learn that they have value, that their well-being matters, that even if the future feels bleak there are endless opportunities available to them, and that traumatic experiences that they have endured are not their fault.   However, there is hope and I believe it is possible to reduce the instances of mental health crises and specifically suicide attempts by youth.  Early intervention and building resiliency are the super-powers that help  overcome adversity, break the generational cycle of abuse and dysfunction, and go on to live happy and fulfilled lives. 

4.  As you've been leading this organization, how has the generosity of others impacted you personally?  What do you love to Give 4?

The many means of generosity of others are the reason this organization is healthy today.  Business professionals donated their time and talents to help build infrastructure, put systems in place, up level our financial reporting, facilitate our strategic planning and on and on.  The needs of the organization were way bigger than me and when these people jumped in to volunteer their valuable time and expertise I was astonished by their generosity.  It motivated me to work harder to make the connection between the “back office work” and the positive outcomes that our clients are able to achieve. The financial generosity of others is icing on the cake.   With financial support, we are able to get the proven strategies for mental wellness into the hands of teachers and other youth serving individuals who are overwhelmed by the disruptive behavior of some of their students and youth they serve.  Financial generosity also helps us provide much needed help to parents.   I give 4 the kiddos and their families.  Period.  Each one deserves the highest level of support possible to have a thriving successful future.  It’s not just what I give 4, it’s what I live for.

Thank you Lorry for being a Champion!!!

Miranda Frye

When I first met Miranda it was clear we were kindred spirits.  Her love and compassion were evident as we spoke about my vision for Give4 and helping businesses do well so they could do more good!  She was in 100% and as we collaborated on a strategy for her company, it was clear that Miranda is a champion for those who are weak, vulnerable, and have no voice.  As MF is our featured company this quarter with our "Shop4Purpose" link, you will see she has aligned her generosity with her passions, by partnering with an organization in India that is eliminating human trafficking for the most vulnerable through prevention at the earliest ages.

I asked Miranda 4 questions on generosity and giving back and we hope you enjoy her wisdom and honesty.  Give4 is thrilled to feature and partner with Miranda and her company, and we know you will too!

 1.  When did you realize you wanted to find a way to give back through your company?

Giving has always been a joy and a privilege for me.  Since the day I started Miranda Frye, my intention has always been to give back and support causes that are important to me and my team.

2.  Why is giving back important to you?

My life has been full of incredible loss and also incredible abundance.  Having endured extreme spiritual and emotional poverty has made me inclined to want to give to others who are suffering and in need.

3.  How has being generous impacted your life and business?

I’ve never thought of myself in terms of being generous or not. I simply enjoy giving when I can and helping others who are in need. I know that it brings me peace and joy to give back as well as gratitude for the things I have. As far as my business is concerned, it’s a LOT of work starting a business from scratch. Being able to give back and be even a small part of changing lives makes the hard work and long hours worth it.

4.  If someone is afraid to give due to finances, what would you encourage them to do and why? 

Don’t be stressed or worried about needing to give. Just look for areas in your own life where you are feeling your heart strings being pulled, then find causes and organizations that help fulfill that need that is dear to you. Do it knowing that your God given spirit is directing and prompting you. You cannot lose when giving this way. It’s so important to be a cheerful giver and giving from a place of freedom and never from a place of compulsion or guilt. To give generously, out of complete freedom, is one of life’s greatest privileges and gifts.

Thanks Miranda for being a Champion!


What do you Give4?

My life has been marked by generosity and the impact of giving.  I'll never forget the time my daughter was in desperate need of having her wisdom teeth extracted.  We had no insurance and no money to pay for such a procedure.  She was suffering and our hearts were breaking as parents who couldn't find a way to relieve the pain.  That same week my husband had a quick dinner with a friend who asked how our kids were doing.  In simple passing, my husband mentioned our daughter and our trying to figure out what to do.  This friend called the next day and offered to pay for the $2300 procedure...no strings, just generosity! We were in awe and full of gratitude for the kindness of this friend, really acquaintance, who gave in spite of his own personnel need.  You see this man wasn't wealthy by any means...in fact, you could say he was a blue collared worker.  He just had a generous heart and believed his giving would come back around when he needed it.

People give for all kinds of different reasons.  I love to give!  I have a hard time NOT giving when I hear of a need or cause.  Giving comes naturally for me, although not as easily for my husband.  Over the years we've grown in our generosity and have seen increase in our lives as a direct result; increase of joy, increase of connections, increase in our ability to give more, increase for our children, and the list goes on.  Generosity has  "pay it forward" dividends...and I've always experienced great returns on that investment!

So what do you Give4?  Do you give for causes like clean water, health care in countries with no access, refugees, homelessness, education, autism, human rights issues, missions, abolishing modern day slavery, or a friends' medical bills? Whatever you Give4, can I just encourage you to GIVE!  Give with generosity, give expecting nothing in return, give because you're passionate about it, and give because generosity begets generosity!

Let us know what you GIVE4...