July 24, 2017

Summer Art Contest

Calling all artists, painters, crayon drawers, and stick figure experts! In addition to RAYS’ summer activities this year, we are also holding a Youth Summer Art Contest.

From now until August 15th, RAYS’ clients and family members submit original artwork and enter for a chance to win a Target gift card. The top three winners will have their art featured on our RAYS Thank You notes!

Here’s what you need to know to enter:

  • Design and create your own personal artwork that shows the theme: “What I learned at RAYS”
  • Include our name “RAYS” in the design
  • Turn it into the front desk and artwork will be displayed in the lobby until the end of the contest
  • The top three winners will receive a Target gift card and have their art will be featured on RAYS Thank You notes.
  • Applicants must be age 18 or younger

No need to worry about supplies, we have provided markers, crayons, and colored pencils in our lobbies. Do a quick sketch or drawing while you wait for your session or group to begin. Want more time to complete your work? Feel free to take home our pre-printed submission sheet and return in by August 15th. Check out the contest rules below for more information about the contest and how to participate!


Contest Period: Renton Area Youth and Family Services “What I Learn at RAYS” Artwork.

Contest begins: 12:00 a.m. PST on July 11, 2017 and ends at 11:59 p.m. PST on August 15, 2017.

Sponsor: Renton Area Youth & Family Services

Eligibility: “What I Learned at RAYS” Artwork Contest is open to current RAYS clients 18 years and under.

How to Enter the Contest: To enter, draw a picture on the front of this sheet that shows what you learned at RAYS and includes our name “RAYS” in the design. When you’re done, turn it in to our contest folder at the front desk. Only one submission per person. All entries must be original, and must not be a copy of any existing work. The back of the submissions must include: your first name and last initial, the name of the RAYS clinician or staff member with whom you work, and a parent/guardian signature. Submitted artwork will be displayed in the main lobby of the RAYS building – see additional release information below.

Prize: Three winners will be chosen based on their artwork submission. Awarded prizes Target gift card: 1st prize – $20, 2nd prize – $15, 3rd prize – $10.

Release: By entering the contest, hereby voluntarily and without compensation authorize and consent that Renton Area Youth and Family Services, its legal representatives, successors, or assigns, shall have the absolute right to copyright, publish, use, sell or assign any and all contest artwork or any part thereof, submitted on this date whether apart from or in connection with illustrative or written printed matter, story or news item, motion pictures, websites, social media channels or for any other lawful purpose whatsoever, in conjunction with my own or fictitious name, or in reproduction thereof in color or otherwise. I hereby waive all claims for any compensation for such use or for damages. I hereby waive any right I may have to inspect and/or approve the finished product or the advertising copy that may be used in connection therewith or the use to which it may be applied. I hereby warrant that I am of lawful age and have the legal capacity to contract in my own name in the above regard. I state further I have read the above authorization and release, prior to its execution, and that I am fully familiar with the contents thereof.

June 13, 2017

2017 Summer Activities: From Sports to Board Games to Art

As the weather heats up, our minds begin to drift towards summer fun – long sun-filled days spent outside, swimming in Lake Washington, visiting with friends, BBQs, and summer camps. Our kids notice it most acutely as they start to wiggle in their classroom seats waiting for the final bell on the final day of school. Here at the agency, we tend to see less of our clients over the summer as families take vacations and the stress from the year melts away in the sun. Our staff doesn’t mind when things slow down – it gives us time to run a program that we look forward to each year:

Summer Activities!

We know that despite all the excitement that summer can bring, it can often be a boring time for many kids. Every year RAYS staff get together to create a selection of summer group activities for our clients and their families. It’s a chance for our families to get out of the house and take a break from boredom (and sometimes the heat). Through our Summer Activities, we strive to engage our clients in exercising their bodies and their brains with other kids their age that share their passions and interests.

We develop a new program each year and many groups are so popular that they come back again and again. Each group is run by a RAYS team member and is scheduled throughout the week to make it easier for families to attend multiple groups.

Here’s what we’re offering this year:

All Ages Littles Kids
Henry Moses Aquatic Center “Dig it Up” Gardening Group “Giggles & Wiggles” Group (4-6 yrs) Sports Group (6-12 yrs) “My Superhero Story” (6-10 yrs) Creative Arts Group (8-12 yrs)
Teen Stress Reduction (12+ yrs) Body Respect Group (12+ yrs) “Write Your Guts Out” Creative Journaling Group (14+ yrs) “Who’s Turn is it?” Board Game Group (14+ yrs) Alphabet Soup – LGBTIQA (13-17 yrs) Explore Seattle (14+ yrs)

If you, your child, or your family are clients at RAYS and want to learn more about our Summer Activities Program, speak with your clinician at your next appointment. They can help you sign up!

In addition to our Summer Activities, we are so excited to again be a part of the Free Renton Summer Lunch Program! Monday through Friday from July 10th to August 18th, children ages 1-18 can stop by our downtown office between 12-1pm for a free lunch. You do not have to be a client or even register – just show up. We know it can be hard for some families when school lunches are no longer available. Let us help ease that burden so you can focus on other things this summer like fun in the sun!

To learn more about the Renton Summer Lunch Program visit http://rentonwa.gov/summerlunch/

May 30, 2017

RAYS Staff Spotlight: Kristen Raftis

We are so proud of our staff at RAYS and look forward to introducing you to a few of them over the coming months. This month, I got to sit down with RAYS’ new Director of Strategic Relationships and ask her a bit about herself. We talked about everything from her theater background to her role her at RAYS and what she’s excited about for the future.

Well first things first, why don’t you tell us about yourself and anything you want us to know?
Kris Raftis: Sounds good – well, first of all, I’m very excited to be at RAYS and I’m happy to be working at a partner agency to United Way of King County since I was there for several years. It feels like I’m still a part of the United Way family. I have a masters in non-profit leadership from Seattle U and I feel like the job here will allow me to use both my master’s program and the experience that I gained at United Way. I really believe in the work that RAYS is doing and I want to help RAYS serve even more families and kids.

“I think it’s a privilege doing this work. I think being in development is one of the greatest jobs you can have because I get to connect people who want to give back to the needs of the community. It’s a privilege to have found my career and its super rewarding.”-Kris

So how did your theater background and that interest in your life lead you to where you are right now as Director of Strategic Relations?

K: I think I’ve always been a relationship builder and I’ve always been a naturally curious person. I think that curiosity leads people to be comfortable with me. They seem interested to tell me their stories. Also, theater people are storytellers – it’s about translating stories or sharing them in ways that get people excited. So, yeah, understanding stories and getting those stories to the right people – that comes from the theater background. And the strategic relationship part, I didn’t know that I was good at it until I got to United Way. There I was working on some huge projects involving lots of stakeholders and very complex relationships. And I learned how to move a group forward on a goal and make decisions that still keep doors open.

You mentioned a little bit about what drew you to RAYS. How did you decide to start working here?

K: I think it was that the job required some entrepreneurial skills – build on what you have while creating new relationships and partnerships. Also working closely with the executive director, Richard Brooks, to expand the partnerships that you already have was very intriguing to me. But really, I believe in the mission – helping people and their families. People can be vulnerable – it’s hard to talk about when you are in a stressful situation so I think it’s our job to advocate and to get resources for people in order to have a healthy community.

At RAYS we are big on self-care. We talk about it a lot. So what is your favorite self-care activity?

K: Oh, either taking myself to my friend’s cabin on Lake Sutherland or getting a massage. I think it’s important to have fun and laugh. Other fun facts: I’m a reader – I love reading and I’m also a foodie. I love to support local music, go to events, and check out independent restaurants. And you can see from my picture I’m a big Seahawks fan.

Here’s the million dollar question – If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?

K: [Laughs] What would I do with a million dollars? Finally pay off my master’s program! [Laughs] Ah, I would like to engage in some philanthropy – I’d love to be able to be a larger donor to the causes that I believe in. I think I would set up education funds for my kids and also do some other education donations. I think education is the great equalizer, you know, “if you know better, you can do better.” That’s not my quote that’s Maya Angelou, but I think that’s true.

So education sounds like it takes a big role in your life.

K: Yes, it does. Absolutely.

If you could send out a message to everyone involved with RAYS, what would you let people know?

K: I think I would just want to let people know that I have an open door – so I look forward to meeting the rest of the staff and our donors and celebrate the good work that RAYS is doing. I’d like to hear from people who have known RAYS longer than I have and find out why they are passionate about RAYS and how RAYS has impacted you – they can email me. And also watch for an upcoming fun event. It’s in the works.

Anything else you’d like to add?

K: I think it’s a privilege doing this work. I think being in development is one of the greatest jobs you can have because I get to connect people who want to give back to the needs of the community. It’s a privilege to have found my career and its super rewarding.

Before we ended our conversation, Kris reminded me again that she is looking to hear from you! She wants to hear your stories and get to know you. If you have something to share about RAYS or are looking to get to know Kris a little bit better – feel free to email her at kristenr@rays.org.

Interview conducted by Christina Campos, MA, LMFTA/Drama Therapy Trainee