Journey to a healthier you

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Everyone wants to live a healthy life. The ideal health for most is reached by eating nutritious meals to fuel the body and mind, while being balanced with enough physical activity to keep the body working properly. 

But where does one start? There seems to be an endless amount of questions to ask and information to gather before starting a journey to a healthier you. Luckily, for the Tulalip community, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and a team of health experts are here to help by offering a series of nutrition and cooking classes that are fun and interactive.

Eat Smart, Be Active classes will be taking place every Tuesday from now until July 31 at the Tulalip Dining Hall from 5:00pm – 6:30pm. If you are interested in learning more about whole foods, quality health, exercise, meal prepping, or cooking quick and healthy meals on a budget, then this is the perfect opportunity.

“Making healthy lifestyle changes is not an easy thing to do, but in the end the reward is so worth it!” stated AnneCherise Jensen, SNAP-Ed Nutritionist. “Eat Smart, Be Active classes really do give you an opportunity to learn, to ask questions, to discuss, and gain the tools you and your family need to live a happy, healthy, energetic life. Overall, these classes are very positive, energetic, and fun. We have a great preventative care team that truly cares about your health and wellbeing.”

Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean dieting or giving up all the foods you love. During the opening class on Tuesday, June 5, the twenty-five health conscious participants learned about ditching junk food and give their bodies the nutrient-dense fuel it needs by making a meal together. The main course? A delicious chicken stir fry made with nine different flavorful vegetables. 

After learning a 15-minute aerobic exercise routine that can be done at the comfort of home, the community members received basic cooking instruction before gathering in the kitchen. There each participant had a job to do in order to make the evening’s meal. Finally, while enjoying the freshly prepared chicken stir fry, instructors reviewed all the nutrients being consumed and emphasized how simple the process had been.

“It was empowering as a community to get together and participate in a healthy, nutritious meal,” added AnneCherise after the evening class had ended. “There are so many amazing health benefits to making these small, gradual changes. You start to have more energy, you begin to feel more confident in yourself, you find yourself in better moods, and the more and more you do it – the more friends you will find to exchange recipes with and encourage each other along the way.”

If you missed out on the opening class, no worries. The invite is open to anyone who wishes to learn about healthier lifestyle choices when it comes to nutrition and physical activity. Come in to as many classes as you can, if not all of them.

Questions? Please contact AnneCherise Jensen, SNAP-Ed Nutritionist at 360-716-5632 or OR Brooke Morrison, Tulalip Diabetes Prevention Assistant at 360-716-5617 or 

Versus Technology increases efficiency, decreases wait time at health clinic

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic recently completed renovations that saw several improvements to the building including new patient rooms, additional dental chairs as well as new check-in stations. The clinic’s reason for the remodel was not only for modernization, but primarily to create a better overall experience for the patients, factoring in community feedback when designing the new floor plan. Prior to the renovation, one of the biggest issues many patients encountered was sitting in the waiting room for a long period of time before being seen by a doctor. Through the remodel, the clinic addressed this issue by incorporating more acute care patient rooms. By adding more rooms, the clinic is able bring more patients back at a time to get their vitals checked by a medical assistant before they’re seen by a doctor. The clinic has also recently implemented the Versus Technology system to help create a more efficient visit for their patients.  

Versus Technology is an inferred/radio frequency locating system. The system has been utilized in many clinics and hospitals across the nation for a number of years to help optimize patient flow. Often times, patients have to visit many areas of the clinic during the same trip including the x-ray rooms and labs as well as dental and optometry. The Versus system ensures that patients don’t get lost along the corridors, aren’t left unattended for too long and most importantly, are safe while receiving care at the health clinic.

Upon checking-in, patients are given a Versus badge attached to a small clipboard, which is carried by the patient during their entire visit. This allows health clinic staff to see on their computer screens where the patient is at in the building and how far along they are in their appointment. If a patient is waiting in one area for more than fifteen minutes, staff is alerted via a screen pop-up. The staff then checks on the patient and gives them an update as well as an expected wait time, letting the patient know they haven’t been forgotten. 

The badges also help employees locate one another for assistance during the busy hours of the day. All staff members at the clinic have a badge that is worn at all times while working. The staff badges have a button for emergency situations, and when pressed all employees are notified and can rush to that location to help. Versus Technology also helps practitioners by allowing them to review the amount of time spent with their patients, which helps with scheduling. For instance, if a doctor schedules his appointments in thirty-minute increments but often spends an extra five minutes with each patient, that increases the wait time for each of his following patients.  The new system allows that doctor to recognize that he needs to schedule all of his appointments for five additional minutes and eliminate patient wait time. 

The health clinic decided to use Versus after visiting the Monroe Providence Clinic and seeing the system in action as well as conducting a survey from their patients. 

“We talked to patients who were utilizing Versus and asked them how they liked it and most of them loved it,” explains Dr. Rhonda Nelson, Tulalip Health Clinic’s Health Informatics Manager. “I don’t think there was a single negative piece of feedback because they really felt it helped the flow of their visit, making sure they were getting where they needed to go and when they needed to get there. 

“At Monroe they actually room themselves, they get handed a badge and the staff writes on the clipboard what room they’re supposed to go to,” she continues. “They don’t even wait in the waiting room; they just go back to the room like a hotel. On one hand, it’s somewhat impersonal, our patients tend to expect a more personal experience than that. On the other hand, it decreases communal diseases because a lot of time when you go to the doctor, people are actually sick – coughing, hacking, sneezing, got a fever. The less time you spend in the waiting room with all the sick people, you actually have less of a chance of catching something. You’ll notice our waiting room is actually smaller with much less seating, they anticipated that patients would be sitting in the waiting room less with Versus.”

The clinic officially began using Versus on April 17, which has been met with a mix of extremely positive reviews as well as heavy concern from the elders of the community.

“Many elders expressed concern with me, one of them was privacy,” says Dr. Nelson. “They were wondering if we were going to monitor how much time they spent in the bathroom. We’re looking at this as more of an overall thing, like the amount of time they spend alone and are waiting. Their other concern was, are you going to shorten my visit to make your staff look good, are you under the gun to get me out of the room? That had been voiced by some of the elders, asking if we’re going to rush them. And the answer is no, that’s not our goal. Our goal is to see how long you are waiting, if you’re getting seen in a timely manner and if we’re communicating with you about what’s happening. 

“We want to make sure that people have clear expectations of their visit time and also that we’re utilizing our rooms well,” she states. “Your safety is important to us. No, we’re not monitoring how long you’re in the bathroom, but if someone’s been in the bathroom for a really long time, thirty or more minutes, we want to check to see that they’re okay. We also don’t want you to have to worry about missing your appointment if you have to use the bathroom because we can see that you’re still in the building. And we still have a number of smokers that step outside and the badge just shows us that they haven’t left, so when we’re ready for them we can go out and let them know to come on back. It’s still new and it takes some time to get used to change, but I think that we’re doing great and that [Versus] helps us create a better, more efficient experience for our patients.”

Community discussion focuses on ending violence against children and sexual abuse within Indigenous communities

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

There was no shortage of tears from the small gathering of Tulalip citizens during the recent screening of the movie Wind River on the night of April 13. The event, held at the Mission Highlands Community Center, is Tulalip Family Advocacy’s latest effort in bringing awareness, education and support to the community during National Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Sexual Abuse Awareness Month. 

The critically acclaimed movie follows a Fish and Wildlife tracker and an FBI agent as they investigate the death of a young Native American woman on the Wind River Reservation, home to both Arapaho and Shoshone tribes in Wyoming. The movie depicts a lot of the hardships Native communities experience such as substance abuse, race relations and violence. However, Wind River is based upon the unfortunate reality of the many unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women. The film also addresses the often complicated jurisdiction issue between tribal police and government officials, as well as the lack of officers on reservations which often stalls many of these cases. 

Although the event had a small turnout, everybody in attendance had yet to see the film prior to the movie night. This allowed the viewers to experience a flurry of emotions during the fast-paced action-mystery-drama. After the film ended, the crowd needed to take a personal moment to wipe away tears before participating in an open discussion about Wind River.  

Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Forensic Interview Specialist, Sydney Gilbert, asked the movie goers a series of questions that allowed the community members to relate and reflect on the issues brought to light by the movie.

“Watching this was heartbreaking and enlightening,” expressed an anonymous community member. “It should definitely be watched because it’s important. It shows the hopelessness many of our people feel living out on reservations. A lot of us can feel like there’s no way out on the rez, out of the rez life. In many ways, our people have adapted to numbing. And with all these deaths, whether it’s [a murder], drug overdose or suicide, you don’t have time to recover and heal. It’s almost like that’s our lifestyle now and numbing’s the new norm.”

The discussion was a personal, intimate hour-long conversation where the participants brainstormed ideas about how to overcome some of these issues as a community and spoke about how and when these situations first became problems for Native Americans. The group also shared personal stories and suggested new ways to help put an end to violence against children and sexual abuse within Indigenous communities.

One community member stressed that education is key for both prevention and healing when dealing with such serious topics, stating, “It’s generational trauma. This is something that happened in the boarding schools and it’s been a never-ending cycle. It’s important for our people to know that’s where it stems from in order to deal with those emotions and move forward because those are huge burdens that we are having to carry.” 

“The reason we chose Wind River is because not only is April Child Abuse Prevention Month, it’s also Sexual Abuse Awareness month,” states Sydney. “We felt that this film touches on that subject and opens up an important discussion around sexual assault in Indian Country.”

The film has been an eye-opener for many of its viewers across the nation. Most recently a law was signed here in Washington State that aims to prevent as well as provide assistance for the missing and murdered Indigenous women in this state. The law was passed months after the release of the film, when a government official realized how big of an ongoing issue this is for Native women, upon seeing the movie and several rallies across the state. The new law goes into effect this June and requires Washington State Patrol as well as the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs to work with tribal law enforcement to access more information and resources for reporting and identifying missing Native women in this state. 

Studies show that over 86% of Native women nationswide experience sexual or domestic violence in their lifetime, doubling the average amongst women of other races. Unfortunately, the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women remains unknown.

Family Advocacy will continue their month of awareness by distributing blue pinwheels, which represent the prevention of childhood abuse, to the entire community throughout the remainder of the month and will end with the Helping Our Sisters Heal gathering at the Tulalip Dining Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on April 28. 

Darkness to Light, empowering people to take action against abuse

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“Childhood sexual abuse is a topic a lot of people don’t want to talk about,” says Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Manager, Jade Carela. “A lot of people think if they don’t hear about it or think about it, it’s not happening. But the reality is, it’s happening. It’s happening on our reservation. It’s happening a lot. The silence is what keeps it going, not talking about it and not getting proper education about it.” 

Tulalip Family Advocacy, consisting of the Child Advocacy Center, beda?chelh, Legacy of Healing, Family Haven and the Tulalip Safe House, is bringing support, awareness and education to the community during the entire month of April to help prevent childhood abuse and sexual assault. Throughout the country, communities are either observing April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month or National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Family Advocacy, however, decided to dedicate the month to raising awareness to both causes by hosting several events to help survivors of sexual crimes heal, as well as inform local citizens about how to prevent childhood sexual assault from occurring and also how to respond and report when somebody opens up to you about sexual abuse.  

The first event of Family Advocacy’s month of awareness was the two-hour Darkness to Light training held at the Tulalip Administration building on April 10. Darkness to Light is a national non-profit organization that empowers adults to take action and prevent childhood sexual abuse. The organization created the Stewards of Children training, which features a video presentation that teaches participants the ‘5 Steps to Protecting Our Children’ – learn the facts, minimize opportunity, talk about it, recognize the signs and react responsibly. 

The video presentation, told through the voices of adults who were victims of childhood sexual assault, revealed some very shocking statistics. One in every 10 kids are sexually abused by the age of eighteen; 90% of childhood victims know their abuser – 30% are abused by family, 60% are by friends of family and trusted adults and 40% are committed by older children. And when and if reported to police, 66% of all sexual assault cases involved youth and 35% of those accounts happened to children ages eleven and younger. Children who are survivors of sexual crimes experience a lifetime of trauma which can often lead to anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, defiance, teen pregnancy, promiscuity, eating disorders, self-inflicted harm and suicide. It is important to note that those statistics are based on incidents reported and many childhood sexual abuse incidents go unreported out of fear, shame and lack of support. 

“The Darkness to Light trainings equips community members with the knowledge of how to put measures in place to help prevent childhood sexual abuse and how to recognize the signs of childhood sexual abuse,” explains Sydney Gilbert, Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Forensic Interview Specialist. “You hear from a lot of survivors in this video, showing that it is possible to move forward if people have the support they need.”

During the video, the survivors recounted their attacks – who their abuser was, when the horrible act(s) occurred and how it altered their lives and interactions with others forever. More importantly, the victims detailed their life experiences after their assault, their struggles and how they worked through their trauma, showing other survivors that they can work towards healing and lead healthy and productive lives once addressing the incident. The video also covered the importance of helping your child establish personal boundaries with others, monitoring internet usage and listening for clues the child may be dropping, as kids tend to feel situations out before completely confiding in an adult. After the video, participants take part in an open discussion and are presented with a certificate for completing the Stewards of Children training. 

“This is one of the first classes I’ve been to that’s based on prevention,” states Tulalip tribal member, Toni Sheldon. “We’re done reacting, we need to be proactive. These are our kids, our future. We need to stop this cycle.”  

“I want this community to become more informed,” expressed Jade. “Typically, when we’re talking about childhood sexual abuse, we expect the child to disclose, to tell an adult. We expect the child to know when something bad is happening to them and that’s not right. We as the adults need to start taking the initiative. It needs to be put on us to take care of these children and start recognizing the signs. When we’re in public and notice someone is touching a child, not necessarily completely inappropriate, but you can tell that the child is uncomfortable with it; and not always expecting your children to hug family members because kids sense things differently than adults do and there might be a reason for that. And when a child is disclosing, a lot people aren’t properly educated on how to respond to that and sometimes it can make the child not want to disclose at all. So most of the time, children never do tell their story, they never tell what happened to them.

“These trainings are important because they teach us, as adults, to take back that accountability,” she continues. “It teaches us how to start recognizing different things within the community and the people we’re around. It teaches us how to stand up and say something. I want the victims to know that there are safe people in our community to talk to about abuse that has happened. There are people who will believe them and walk that path with them so they’re not alone.”

Family Advocacy is hosting a free movie night and discussion on Friday April 13 at the Mission Highlands Community Center from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. where they will be screening the movie Wind River.  Another Darkness to Light training will be held on Wednesday April 25, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Administration building. National Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month will wrap up with Helping Our Sisters Heal, a traditional-inspired gathering for the women of the community who are survivors of violence and sexual assault. This will be held Saturday, April 28, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Old Dining Hall. 

 For further information, please contact Sydney Gilbert at (360) 716-4097 and to report child sexual abuse please contact the proper authorities by referring to the list of community resources provided by the Tulalip Child Advocacy Center.  



Community Resources for Responding to Child Sexual Abuse Tulalip and Snohomish County

Call the report abuse

Contact the CPS Program at 1-866-End-Harm or any Law Enforcement Agency at 911. You are not required to provided proof. Anyone who makes a good faith report based on reasonable grounds is immune from prosecution. If the abuse occurred within the past 72 hours, a medical evaluation by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is available by going to the Emergency Department of your County Medical Center or going to the nearest child advocacy center. 


  • DVS assault hotline 425-252-2873
  • 24-hour mental health crisis care line 800-584-3578
  • Darkness to Light helpline 1-866-FOR-LIGHT    (1-866-367-5444)


Legal Help

  • Tulalip Office of Civil Legal Aid 360-716-4773
  • NW Justice Project 425-252-8515

Victim Advocacy

  • Tulalip Child Advocacy Center 360-716-5437
  • Legacy of Healing 360-716-4100


Treatment Providers

  • Tulalip Family Services 360-716-4400
  • Tulalip Youth and Family Wellness 360-716-4224
  • Catholic Community Services 360-651-2366

Support groups for survivors and for parents and families of children who have been abused

  • Providence Assault and Abuse Services 425-297-5782


Child Advocacy Centers in Snohomish County

Feel free to call the center with any questions about where to find resources related to child sexual abuse. Contact the nearest CAC to set up an interview of abuse is reported: 

Tulalip Child Advocacy Center  360-716-5437  2321 Marine Dr., Tulalip, WA 98271

Dawson’s Place 425-789-3000   1509 California St   Everett, WA 98201

Tulalip celebrates the spectrum on World Autism Awareness Day

The Walk for Autism Awareness started on Totem Beach Road. Children, parents and
educators came together to support those affected by autism.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The eleventh annual World Autism Awareness Day took place on Monday, April 2, making for a ceremonious start to the month of April, recognized as autism awareness month. Autism-friendly events and educational activities take place all month to increase understanding and acceptance and foster worldwide support for an often misunderstood complex developmental disorder. 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability with signs beginning to show during the early childhood years. Autism is not a single disorder; it is rather a wide range of complex disorders that affects children differently. Primarily, it affects children’s abilities to communicate and interact with others. There is no known cause for ASD, but its prevalence figures are on the rise. In fact, autism is one the fastest-growing serious developmental disabilities in the U.S.

As of 2016, the prevalence of autism is 1 in every 68 children in the United States, including 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls. Approximately 100 individuals are diagnosed every day in the U.S., and it’s currently estimated there are more than 2 million people affected by autism in this country alone.

Creating an environment to support and learn more about the affliction, Tulalip Youth Services coordinated the Walk for Autism Awareness that took place on April 2. All families and children affected by autism were invited to participate, and were joined by a gathering of community supporters. 

“We wanted to raise awareness for our children and families affected by autism,” explains event co-coordinator, Shylee Burke, an Activities Specialist. “It’s important to educate our community that we have children with autism as our number of tribal members diagnosed with autism has continued to rise over the last ten years. We had lots of youth participate in the walk, including several with autism. Thank you to our community and all the people who joined us for the walk and showed their support.”

Board of Director, Bonnie Juneau, came out and showed her support by joining the eighty-person herd as they walked 1.5 miles on a route that started at the youth center, went to the marina, and then back to the youth center. 

“It was great to see all the community; the kids, the adults and even some elders joined in a common cause to walk for our children with challenges,” said Bonnie. “It was a beautiful day, the sun came out at the perfect time. The love, support and solidarity of the community is always great thing to see in Tulalip.” 

Autism awareness month is critical for promoting education and mindfulness in diagnosing young children and providing them with the resources they need. A variety of education-related materials, including flyers, pamphlets and medical specialist information was distributed before and after the walk.

The Walk for Autism Awareness was especially meaningful for those Tulalip community families for whom autism is ever-present in their lives. 

“April 2 means more than it ever did before. My son, Jared Parks II, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder last year,” revealed Kristie Fryberg. “My baby boy has taught me so much in his little life. I love him so much and enjoy the unexpected every day!”

“This is something near and dear to my heart because my five-year-old son has autism,” added Jared Parks, Board of Director. “I walked for him, and to support all the kids who are on the spectrum.”

The support-based event gave the Holmes family an opportunity to participate in their first ever Autism Awareness Walk. Monica and Eric Holmes are parents to four children affected by autism, ranging in age from 20 down to 9. 

“It was heartening to see so many community members come out to support our youth with autism,” shared Eric, who also works for a non-profit dedicated to special needs adults. “As a parent of children on the spectrum, I’ve learned that individuals with autism are as unique in their needs and desires as individuals without autism. Autism is a spectrum, so learning and teaching, working with and loving them is not a one size fits all prescription. I am grateful for what my boys have taught me, which is more patience, humility and gratitude for all that I have been blessed with.”

“With four children affected by autism, doing large scale events in the community is often difficult for us. Even a walk to honor and bring awareness to the very issues our kids are struggling with cuts right to the heart of the challenges associated with living with autism,” explained Monica, Prevention Specialist for Community Health.

“Sensory challenges like bright lights, loud noises, crowds, multiple activities going on at once, transitions from one locale to the next, affect them immensely,” she continued. “I believe the lessons learned today will go a long way in bringing improved support and resources, less bullying and more understanding of kids on the spectrum and the families that love them.”

Following the leisurely stroll surrounded by family and friends united in a common goal, the group continued to be support one another by doing a fun activity that meant signing each other’s t-shirts to remember the day. This was a highlight to many of the kids, who eagerly wrote their names in bright and bold colors on one t-shirt after another. 

Ten-year-old Josh Holmes, who has autism, said “my favorite part of the day was when lots of people signed my autism awareness t-shirt. I got 10 signatures all over it.”

“I liked the walk because we got to see so many people who waved and honked at us while we were walking,” added younger brother Isaiah Holmes, who also is diagnosed with autism. “It made me happy to get lots of people to sign my shirt all over. And I got to ride in an ATV for some of the walk.”

The event turned out better than expected with so many joining in to show support and help spread awareness. It’s only part of a new initiative to implement programs to support all children with autism. In addition, it raises the idea of promoting acceptance and inclusion among everyone.

Supporters consistently say that improving public understanding of autism is their top priority. Better understanding of autism improves lives, increasing the chances of an early diagnosis and support, lowering incidents of bullying at school, and teaches invaluable lessons about embracing differences. As the saying goes, “Why fit in when you can stand out?”

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month and Sexual Assault Awareness month

Submitted by Sydney Gilbert, Forensic Interviewer Tulalip Tribes Child Advocacy Center

You may have seen our blue and silver pinwheels and our save-the-dates floating around for the month of April, which is both National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness month. You may be wondering “What is Darkness to Light?” and “Why is it being offered twice in April?’ 

This article is to explain the importance of Darkness to Light and to encourage you to attend our free two hour training that teaches the steps necessary to protect our children from childhood sexual abuse. Childhood sexual abuse is a difficult subject to talk about but it is highly likely that you know a child who has been or is being abused. Experts estimate that 1 in 10 children are sexually abused and that over 90% of them know their abuser. 

Child sexual abuse is likely the most prevalent health problem children face with the most serious array of consequences. Sexually abused children are more likely to experience the following, during childhood and throughout their lives: 

  • Post-Traumatic Stress disorder
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Substance Abuse 
  • Aggression, oppositionality, and defiance
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Sexual Promiscuity
  • HIV and Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Teen pregnancy and motherhood
  • Self-inflicted harm
  • Delinquency
  • Runaway behavior
  • Homelessness
  • Decreased school performance and drop-out
  • Criminal behavior and violent offenses
  • Greater healthcare use
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes, cancer, heart problems
  • Stoke and hypertension
  • Suicide

A child’s safety is an adult’s job. Children are often taught how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse-and that’s important for them to learn-but it’s no substitute for adult responsibility. We make sure children wear seat belts. We walk them across busy streets. We store toxic household cleaners out of reach. Why, then, would we leave the job of preventing child sexual abuse solely to children? 

Our free, two hour trainings will teach you how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. This class isn’t just for parents or those who work with children, this class is for anyone who has a child that they care about in their lives.  We will be offering two trainings during the month of April: Tuesday, April 10th from 5:00-7:00pm in admin 162 and Wednesday, April 25th from 5:00-7:00pm in admin 162. These classes are open to any and all adults and food will be provided. 

Please contact Sydney Gilbert at 360-716-4097 or at if you would like to reserve a space at one of our April trainings as spots are limited to 25 per class, or if you would like to bring a darkness to light training to your department. 

References: Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children Interactive Workbook. (2013). Charleston, SC

The Effects of Gambling on Families

Submitted by Sarah Sense-Wilson, Problem Gambling Coordinator, Tulalip Family Services 

Why Can’t They Just Stop?

Most people with gambling problems slowly lose control over how much time and money they spend gambling. They focus only on gambling and ignore other responsibilities and the harm their gambling causes. Some people who gamble excessively do not connect their life problems to their gambling. Others have tried to cut down or stop before, but have failed. Now they feel irritable and upset whenever they try to change.

Most people who gamble excessively have mixed feelings about gambling. They know they are causing problems for the people they love. They may become anxious and unhappy, and often hate themselves. But the urge to gamble is too great to resist. They feel they can’t give up on all the time, money and emotion they have put into gambling. They can’t accept that they will never win back what they have lost.

Other people promise to quit, but can’t. They fear their loved ones will find them out. This drives them deeper into hiding and further into debt. They keep hoping a big win will end their problems. The first step for people with gambling problems is to give up on their losses and their hope of a big win. Then they can begin to regain control over their gambling and their lives.

Impact on Families

You probably already know how much gambling can hurt families. Families may be affected in different ways. Gambling problems can be hidden for a long time, so many families are shocked when they learn how much money has been lost. Some relationships do not survive a gambling problem. Other families struggle through difficulties and grow stronger together. People can and do recover from problem gambling, but it takes time and patience to work through all the issues. Don’t make important decisions about your relationship while you are under stress. Take time to think things through, and consider the feelings and needs of the whole family. Counselling can help you explore your options and decide what will work best for you and your family.

How are families affected?

Money Problems- The most common problem is the loss of money. Savings, property or belongings may suddenly be lost. This kind of money crisis makes the family feel scared, angry and betrayed.


Emotional Problems and Isolation

Gambling problems cause strong feelings. Family members may feel ashamed, hurt, afraid, angry, confused and distrustful. These feelings make it harder to solve problems. The person who gambles may even deny that there is a problem.

Isolation is another problem:

  • Many partners do not want to be emotionally or physically close with the person who has hurt them.
  • Many people affected by gambling problems avoid other people, because they feel ashamed. This makes it hard to get love and support.
  • Friendships may end because of unpaid debts.

Physical and Mental Health

The stress of gambling problems sometimes causes health problems, for both the person who gambles and the family. This can include anxiety, depression and stress-related problems such as poor sleep, ulcers, bowel problems, headaches and muscle pains.


Many families under stress have trouble coping. One member may try to keep things in control by taking on more tasks. This can lead to burnout. Family members often focus on the person with gambling problems, and forget to take care of themselves or to have fun.

Impact on Children

When a parent or caregiver has a gambling problem, children can feel forgotten, depressed and angry. They may believe they caused the problem and that, if they are “good,” the problem will stop. Some children take care of younger brothers or sisters, or try to support their parent. This responsibility causes children stress.

Children may also believe they must take sides between their parents. They may stop trusting a parent who makes promises he or she doesn’t keep. They may steal from the parent or get in trouble at school. Some children may try to draw attention away from the parent with the gambling problem, by:

  • using alcohol or other drugs
  • gambling
  • breaking the law.

It is important to help children understand that the family’s problems are not their fault. Children need to return to a safe and balanced home life and a normal childhood. Family or individual counselling can help children deal with these changes. Family members often over focus on the person with the addiction and forget to take care themselves.

Physical and Emotional Abuse

Family violence is more common when families are in crisis. Gambling problems can lead to physical or emotional abuse of a partner, elder parent or child. Children may be hurt due to pent-up anger or neglect. If this is happening in your family, get help right away.

Anxiety and Depression

Stress, anxiety and depression are common both for people with gambling problems and for their families. This can make sleeping, thinking and solving problems more difficult. If you have some of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, making your day-to-day life difficult, you may have a major depression:

  • You have lost interest in usual activities.
  • You feel depressed, down or irritable.
  • Your sleep has changed (e.g., you have problems falling asleep or staying asleep, or you sleep too much).
  • Your appetite has changed. You have lost or gained weight.
  • You feel helpless, hopeless or despairing.
  • It is hard to think and to remember things, and your thoughts seem slower.
  • You go over and over guilty feelings. You can’t stop thinking about problems.
  • You have lost interest in sex.
  • You feel physically tired, slow and heavy; or you feel restless and jumpy.
  • You feel angry.
  • You think about suicide.

If you have any of these difficulties, speak to your family doctor, counselor or mental health professional. Tell him or her about the gambling problem too. Treatment may include medications and/or counselling and other support.

Suicide Risk

Rates of suicide are higher for people who gamble excessively, and for their family members. The people most likely to attempt suicide are those who also have a mental health problem (such as depression) or who use alcohol or other drugs. People who have threatened suicide or hurt themselves in the past are also more at risk.

If you feel suicidal or are making plans to end your life, get help right away. You don’t have to deal with your problems alone.

Please contact Sarah Sense-Wilson for more information about Problem Gambling services and support at (360) 716-4304 or Washington State Helpline 1-800-547-6133


National Problem Gambling Awareness Month kicks off with community dinner

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Last year, the American Gaming Association estimated that about 9.2 billion dollars was gambled during the 2017 March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament. Because of such widespread promotion of gambling throughout the tournament, the National Council on Problem Gambling has dedicated the month of March to promote awareness and education about gambling addiction to local communities, known as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month.  The Tulalip Problem Gambling Program has a fun, eventful month planned for the community which began with the National Problem Gambling Awareness Month 3rd Annual Community Dinner Event.

On Saturday March 3, dozens of community members gathered in the common area of the Hibulb Cultural Center. The evening featured Robert ‘Waakadup’ Monger on Master of Ceremony duties and traditional drumming and singing was provided by Terrance Sabbas and family.

Jacynta Myles-Gilford with her winning Indigenous Resilience design, which was featired on t-shirts for the event.

As dinner guests arrived, they were gifted t-shirts which featured an award winning logo by Tulalip tribal member Jacynta Myles-Gilford. The logo displays the ribbon of awareness made from a traditional cedar canoe and paddle, showcasing the words Indigenous Resilience. Jacynta was awarded a Walmart gift card during the event and was also blanketed in recognition of her work.

“I was inspired to help make a logo and brainstormed a bunch of different pieces,” states Jacynta. “To me, Indigenous Resilience means being able to come back from anything. I wanted to share that you can come back from your gambling addiction and us as Natives are strong and have gone through a lot and have always come back – we’re resilient. I wanted to incorporate that into the theme.”

Gambler’s Anonymous Speaker, Leah C., shared her story with the community of how gambling took control of her life, causing family members to cut ties from her as well as a number of health issues that nearly resulted in her death. One day she reached out to the Tulalip Problem Gambling Program and has since went through treatment and no longer gambles. Leah shared that she also amended severed ties and has a healthy relationship with her family, especially her grandkids.

“Alcoholism, drug addiction and compulsive gambling are killers that are devouring our nation, not just Native American communities,” says Leah. “We as a community need to be embracing these people, taking care of them and helping them with recovery, not turning away when they need us most. We need to show them love and compassion and help them beat their addiction.”

While enjoying dinner provided by Ryan’s Rez-ipes, guests shared plenty of laughter as Native Comedian Mitch Factor shared jokes about growing up Indigenous. After his set, Mitch encouraged the community by stating, “Gambling is a disease. A real disease and we need to embrace those who are struggling. We need to help them through that dark period. We wouldn’t turn our backs on somebody with cancer or diabetes, gambling is a disease and we need to show that love to our people.”

“Tonight was really special,” expressed Tulalip Problem Gambling Coordinator, Sarah Sense-Wilson. “Everyone came together – the Gamblers Anonymous community, our tribal community and others who heard about the dinner and wanted to be a part of the celebration. We wanted to recognize and honor those who are in recovery and also offer support by bringing awareness to the issue of problem gambling because March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. It was a nice blend of tribal culture, traditional artistic expression and education.”

National Problem Gambling Awareness Month continues with a Family Movie night, featuring the movie Inside Out, on March 17 at the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club beginning at 5:00 p.m. as well as the Annual Elder’s Luncheon which starts at 11:00 a.m. at the Senior Center on March 21. For more information, please contact the Tulalip Problem Gambling Program at (360) 716-4304.

Special Feature: Teen Dating Violence


Submitted by Megan Boyle, Tulalip Children’s Advocacy Center

Teen dating violence is a widespread issue that can lead to serious short- and long-term effects.

Victims are often more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, think about suicide, and engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol.

Teen dating violence can occur between current and former dating partners, in person, or electronically. Examples include physical and emotional harm, as well as stalking. Once teens experience violence in one relationship, research has shown they are at significant risk for experiencing violence in another relationship.

According to a study funded by the National Institute of Justice, 69 percent of youth age 12-18 who were either in a relationship or had been in the past year reported being a victim of teen dating violence. Additionally, 63 percent of that same sample acknowledged perpetrating violence in a relationship. Psychological abuse was the most common type of abuse victimization reported (over 60 percent), but there were also substantial rates of sexual abuse (18 percent) and physical abuse victimization (18 percent).

Consistent with other adolescent relationship abuse studies, researchers found there was significant overlap between victimization and perpetration; 84 percent of victims also perpetrated abuse in a relationship. This finding has important implications for prevention and intervention; it serves as a reminder that programming should recognize the fluidity of these roles among youth in relationships.

Identifying teen dating violence is key to breaking the cycle. It is critical that teachers, parents, coaches, or any others in a teen’s life maintain awareness and take action to get help when it occurs. It is important that teens who experience dating violence seek help soon after so they can receive services to protect against the potential psychosocial impacts of violence and reduce the likelihood of future violence.

If you or someone you know needs to speak with someone regarding teen dating violence contact the Tulalip Children’s Advocacy Center (360)-716-KIDS(5437).

Tulalip T Spa named Top Ten Spa by Forbes

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The Forbes Travel Guide recently released their top ten spas to visit for a new year renewal in 2018. Among the many extravagant spas from around the world, including spas in Bali, Okinawa and Cancun, was none other than the luxurious T Spa at the Tulalip Resort Casino. The T Spa has been a favorite relaxation destination among locals, frequent travelers and high rollers alike since first opening their doors nearly a decade ago. Within those short few years, the T Spa has received several accolades for their exceptional body treatments and excellent guest service, including Best Day Spa by King 5’s Best of Western Washington Awards as well as two features on the local TV show, Seattle Refined.

“We’re a Tulalip inspired spa, that’s why we’re named the ‘T’ Spa,” explains Spa Manager, Naomi Ervin.  “We wanted to focus on bringing the beautiful nature of the area to the inside of the spa with the birch trees, cedar saunas and the river rock services. We are 14,000 square feet; we have fourteen treatment rooms, including two VersaSpa spray tan beds. We have a full nail salon, where we do natural nails, as well as a hair salon and we also do teeth whitening.”

The T Spa offers a variety of relaxing body services that are sure to dissolve away the stress from the daily grind and leave you feeling spiritually grounded and tranquil. Such services include massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, milk baths and body wraps. If you wish to experience a little of everything in one service, be sure to inquire about the Vital Relaxation Body Ritual. The spa also accepts Health Care Management Administrators (HMA) insurance for fifty-minute massages, with a choice of a relaxation, deep tissue or hot stone massage.

Aside from the elegant stress relieving services, one of the main attractions of the T Spa are the relaxation rooms which feature eucalyptus steam rooms and dry-cedar saunas. The spa recently completed renovations that saw the addition of a workout area for Resort guests, as well as a revamped boutique which offers an assortment of items such as sage, yoga apparel and BareMinerals makeup as well as hair and skin care products.

“The T Spa is really helpful for people who live a stressful life and is a place where they’ll be able to unwind and relax,” says Naomi. “The whole atmosphere is really relaxing, it’s great for your well-being. It’s important to take care of yourself and focus on your mental wellness as much as your physical appearance. Sometimes when you take care of yourself on the outside, you feel better on the inside. And it’s all about feeling good.”

In the near future, the T Spa plans on revealing their new meditation suite, complete with a Himalayan salt wall. The T Spa is also hosting the Live Love Spa Convention this March, a two-day event for top spa industry leaders from across the nation.  To view a complete list of their services and to book online, please visit and for further information, please contact the T Spa at (360) 716-6350.