Group 2 3 min Read

Meet the Staff: Neal Mizushima

We are thrilled to introduce you to Neal, our new Director of Programs! Neal will manage our Human Services team, take the lead on our current programs, and help to develop new programs that work to ensure Bellevue children receive the support they need to thrive in and out of the classroom.

Neal brings with him a breadth of experience in the social services sector, including his skills in leadership and in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

“I started my ‘helping’ career at the age of 19, very underqualified, as a mental health counselor hired on the spot because several staff had just quit. It turned out to be a wonderful opportunity that led me on my career journey,” shared Neal. “Along the way, I’ve been involved with everything from administering emergency service programs, overseeing direct service programs, marketing, public relations, and developing strategies around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. All these experiences will help shape how I approach my role here at Bellevue LifeSpring.”

Check out this Q&A to learn a little more about Neal:

What inspired you to get involved with this kind of work, and why do you think it’s so important?

I was raised by a single mother. She was, and is, an extremely hard worker and a great employee. However, because of her education level, the lack of affordable childcare, and because she wasn’t able to put in hours outside of her scheduled shift, she wasn’t able to advance to a point where her income was able to comfortably meet our needs.

I moved around A LOT as a kid because we had to keep finding affordable housing. I went to three different elementary schools in three different school districts. My mother did everything she could to ensure that I had what I needed, but there were times when additional help was needed. Similarly, the families we serve are doing the best they can with what they have access to, but sometimes support is still needed, and I am happy to be a part of an organization that is able to provide that support.

What do you hope to help achieve in your new role?

My goal is to reach families that we aren’t currently reaching and build trust with those communities. I want people to get the support that they need in a way that is humanizing, respectful, and safe. I want to be constantly evolving and adapting to the needs of our Bellevue community, a community that is also evolving and adapting.

When you’re not at Bellevue LifeSpring, what are you spending your time doing?

I love spending time with my wife and two kids. We really enjoy each other’s company and love to play board games, watch shows, go on adventures, and eat delicious food. I also love to go golfing, and my kids are picking up the sport now as well.

Thanks, Neal, and welcome to the Bellevue LifeSpring family!

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