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2011 Superheroes for Washington families: Mike Heinisch

Mike Heinisch, Kent Youth and Family ServicesMike Heinisch, Kent Youth and Family Services

Mike Heinisch moved to Seattle from Wisconsin to make a life for himself. In the process, he has changed the lives of countless local families.

Heinisch has always been drawn to working with families in need, so he earned a master’s degree in counseling from Seattle University. “I saw that when kids have the support they need and families have the support they need, they can begin to thrive,” he says.

Now in his 12th year as director of Kent Youth and Family Services (KYFS), Heinisch has seen huge changes in the community. Affordable housing has brought a big influx of immigrants and outmigration from Seattle. Many of these families seek counseling, education and support services from KYFS.

Steve Strachan, chief deputy of the King County Sheriff’s Office, describes Heinisch as “one of the most truly caring and compassionate individuals I have ever met, personally or professionally.”

There are paybacks. Heinisch recalls meeting the parents of a young woman who had come through KYFS years earlier with myriad problems, including drug addiction. “You gave us our family back,” they told him.

Heinisch is a bit sheepish about being named a superhero. “I wouldn’t be a superhero unless I had a hundred people here who are also superheroes.” — EB

Get to know Mike Heinisch...

Personal hero: My father. I’ve never met someone more true to his word.

Pet peeve: I don’t think I have one.

Best recent read: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Best way to get kids involved in giving back: Taking them along and making them a part of when we’re giving back.

Up Next: Karen Bryant, The Seattle Storm >>

Flip back to see previous 2011 Superheroes:
Rebecca Mallos, Attachment and Trauma Specialists
Ron Sher, creator of local retail centers
Dr. Beth Harvey, pediatrician
Karen Kodama, Seattle Public Schools
Estela Ortega and Roberto Maestas, El Centro De La Raza
Shandra Benito, Reach Out
Michael Schindler, Operation Military Family
Sebrena and Rena Mateja Burr, Wellspring Family Services
Dan Savage, It Gets Better Project
2011 Superheroes: Home

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