Our Mission

If You Could Save Just One empowers youth and their families to write their own stories. We provide activities and resources that assist youth and their parents in the Hillyard neighborhood and surrounding Spokane areas to create a supportive environment where youth are encouraged to explore their own path to success.

We engage youth in exciting activities for learning opportunities that don’t feel like school. By building relationships before tasks it makes it easier for youth to enjoy learning their math, science, technology, creative skills and interests they have, we are providing a bridge that builds educational and vocational opportunities by increasing their interests and options for their career paths.

Our Vision

Just One’s vision statement is what we see for the future and the goal we want to reach through our work in Spokane. Here is what we envision:

  • People feel connected to each other, through our resources, free activities, and this connection helps break down barriers
  • All youth who are impacted are welcome and served
  • Institutions are more aware of the needs of youth and families
  • People feel safe to ask questions, explore, and be vulnerable
  • People increase their protective factors
  • Fmilies navigationing how to access the resources they need with follow through
  • Youth understand that they have value and purpose, even if they are at-risk
  • Youth and families open up to get help when they need it

Our Approach

Research has proven that engagement in positive activities and caring relationships with adults helps youth build resiliency and create a path to success. That is what we do here at Just One. We engage youth in a variety of activities that are led by staff and volunteers who are positive role models and mentors; modeling healthy relationships and getting to know kids at a deeper level. We strive to create a safe environment where youth can connect, learn to express themselves in healthy ways and form supportive and uplifting relationships with their peers in a safe environment.

Natalia’s Story

Just One’s founder, Natalia Gutierrez, embarked on an unexpected journey when she learned that her son was labeled “at-risk” at the age of 13. He grappled with challenges like school suspensions and an ADHD diagnosis, and the path ahead seemed daunting. Determined not to accept the bleak prognosis for her son, Natalia refused to believe that he was destined for a troubled future.

In her quest to find help for her son, Natalia navigated a complex and often bewildering landscape of resources for at-risk youth. She quickly realized that the existing system was ill-suited to meet the unique needs of kids like her son. However, her journey became even more arduous due to an additional challenge – the absence of support from her son’s father. In fact, he relinquished his parental rights to Natalia, leaving her to navigate this challenging path on her own.

Shouldering the weight of responsibility alone, Natalia worked three jobs while attending numerous meetings with school officials, juvenile authorities, and doctors. This relentless pursuit took a toll on her son, who longed for a relationship with his father. Unfortunately, his father was emotionally unavailable to provide the dedicated attention that a child with such profound needs requires.

In the midst of this struggle, her son went missing, plunging Natalia into a world of uncertainty. Documents surfaced, indicating that he had entangled himself with a crowd involved in trafficking-related activities. Evidence of purchased round-trip tickets for him to various cities, deepening her distress.

Six months elapsed before her fears became a reality, as her son reappeared on her doorstep battered and in dire need of medical attention. The heartbreaking journey Natalia and her son endured underscored the critical need for dedicated support and intervention for at-risk youth. It heightened the urgency of her mission to create a better path for her son and others facing similar challenges. This realization fueled her determination to work even harder in seeking solutions that would provide the care, support, and opportunities these youth deserved.

Because Natalia knows firsthand how few programs there are for “at-risk youth” and parents, she started If You Could Save Just One, providing resources to all kids whether or not they have suspensions or are on probation.

Support our work.

Donate to Save Just One.

No Parent Is Alone

While her son was gone, Natalia read nonstop to learn more about youth who go missing, to try to navigate where she went wrong.

She learned that 800,000 kids go missing every year in the United States. That’s about 2,000 kids every day. “If kids disappear every single day, it’s not just my kid,” Natalia thought. “It’s not because I am a bad parent.” She learned that Spokane’s resources for kids’ mental health, depression, suicide, and special needs were decreasing vs. the resources for students with financial advantages. While youth with crimes & suicide rates were increasing. She knew from her own experiences how hard it is to find help even when you know your kid is in trouble. What were parents’ options?

Natalia took all that she had learned and her experiences of frustration and used them to start “If You Could Save Just One.” Just One aims to ensure that families can access the care and support they need to feel safe and connected, with cost not being a barrier. The organization is committed to helping parents find local resources, a refuge, and support in navigating community programs while also assisting their at-risk kids themselves, all before it’s too late.

Just One In the Media

Just One is honored when others share our story and our work. Thank you for helping us in our work with Spokane youth.