Dog Daze a way of giving back to Helpline House
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:30 PM
Just saying thank you wasn't enough.Jillian Bateman sought a more tangible expression of gratitude to Helpline House, so she is producing the Dog Daze benefit concert, Sept. 9.I wanted to show them I appreciate what they've done, Bateman said. And I guess I do like organizing stuff.Bateman first contacted Helpline as a 19-year-old in 1998. For the next three years, the agency provided a spectrum of services that helped her through life.The teen had parted company with her parents when she turned 17. I was a normal teenager, Bateman said. I wasn't going along with what my parents said.She became a live-in nanny for an island family, fulfilling requirements for the alternative high school program Contract Studies at night. In 1998, the year Bateman graduated, the family she had been living with moved away. With advice from Helpline's career counselor, she drafted a resume that got her jobs as a hostess and delivering flowers. She moved into Island Terrace apartments, and Helpline's food bank provided some food and helped pay bills.Before Bateman married last year, Helpline subsidized the prenuptial marriage counseling her pastor recommended.Five years after her life went into a tailspin, Bateman has reconciled with her parents. She is married and has a baby daughter. While her husband attends Seattle Art Institute, Bateman works at the children's clothing store Fuzzy Monkey and teaches classes at Bainbridge Dance Center. She occasionally checks in with Helpline to find odd jobs. She credits Helpline's assistance for her becoming self-sufficient. Bateman says she has been treated with respect, throughout.Every time I go in there, everyone is so nice, she said. Staff couldn't be paid enough for all that they do. Even working two jobs, she still has enough energy to put together a day of music for kids grappling with the circumstances that nearly overwhelmed her.Besides hoping to benefit Helpline, Bateman planned the concert to give island youth a place to go, if only for one day.Parents don't realize that there's nothing to do here for kids, she said. If you're not into sports, if you can't get to Seattle, there's tremendous peer pressure to get in trouble. Bainbridge kids are known throughout Kitsap for random acts of violence and weird things, like stealing signs. They're also known for being snobs.As a teen, Bateman was bothered by what she saw as a dichotomy between haves and have-nots on the island. There's one side, and that's the wealthy, Bateman said. Then there are the others - living on boats, renting apartments, just barely making it.