MIYFS is a lifeline to those in need

The mission of the MIYFS Foundation is a very simple one: to raise funds to support the work of Mercer Island Youth and Family Services.

In the past decade steadily worsening economic conditions have resulted in an unprecedented need for human services in our community. The numbers are staggering.

• In 2001 the MIYFS food pantry served 45 families. In 2011, hungry families in our community made 1,127 visits to the food pantry.

• Our senior outreach program, assisting Mercer Island’s seniors with outreach, living and housing issues, supported 291 seniors in 2011.

• The economic downturn has put additional stress on families and children.  MIYFS counselors in our five public schools saw 3,721 students who needed their support during the last school year — they had planned for 2,100 student sessions.

MIYFS counselors anticipated that they would provide 1,100 hours of counseling for families and individuals; instead, they provided almost double that number (2,126) last year.

• Requests for emergency assistance have soared this year as families exhaust their savings and retirement funds in a desperate attempt to hold on to their homes.

Even as the need increases, local, state and county funds for the support of family and youth are decreasing. Now more than ever, our local community must rally to support our most vulnerable members while at the same time maintaining the programs and services that are critical to a healthy and vibrant community of youth and families.

Luckily, we have a way to do that — with a donation to the MIYFS Foundation.

This month we gather as a community for breakfast, and we have the opportunity to open our hearts and our checkbooks to support our neighbors. The MIYFS Foundation is asking for your gifts, but your donation is so much more than a gift — it is a lifeline for those who need our support:

• The teenager who makes a poor choice and benefits from the diversion services offered by MIYFS — making it possible for him to learn an important lesson and avoid future illegal activities.

• The student struggling to deal with the death of a parent or the loss of the family home who finds a sympathetic ear and wise counsel from a MIYFS counselor.

• The senior who is cold and confused, who finds assistance and support from our MIYFS geriatric specialist.

There are many important causes and organizations that seek your financial support.  I hope that this year, your giving will include a little extra for your neighbors.

To learn more or to donate online, visit

Terry Pottmeyer is a board member for Mercer Island Youth & Family Services.


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