Opinion

MIYFS programs set example for our community

Roger Page
Island Forum

We know that Mercer Island Youth and Family Services has a long history of providing support for a caring community. That’s why we are honored to be co-chairs of this year’s Giving from the Heart Benefit Breakfast on Feb. 13 at the Community Center.

It was an easy decision because we know how vital the services that MIYFS provides are to this community. And we know the depth of the support for this organization, based on the donations it receives.

Further evidence is that the community deemed it a worthy enough entity to have its own foundation, the sponsor of Giving from the Heart. Almost 30 years old now, the sole purpose for its existence is to raise money for Youth and Family Services.

Every individual and every family has a network of support, no matter how small or large — church, school, community organizations, relatives and friends —and Mercer Island Youth and Family Services is another important safety net for youth and family development.

Take a look at what YFS offers: family and individual counseling, senior outreach, a food bank, emergency assistance, employment assistance, youth leadership opportunities, and court diversion. While these programs touch the lives of about 1,300 Islanders, its school counseling program touches the lives of nearly every child who attends public schools here.

YFS programs run almost the entire spectrum of what challenges a family or an individual may face. And services are provided in nearly every area of the Island.

Giving from the Heart is MIYFS’ annual event and is the largest fundraiser for the organization. Every year, hundreds of people come together to have breakfast, drink coffee and socialize. The highlight is the inspirational testimonies from people who know YFS from personal experience. These short but powerful declarations help the Youth and Family Service Foundation generate two-thirds of the funds it raises during the year.

Every year, corporate, business and individual sponsors make this a free event. What is also exciting this year is that each gift of $150 or more will be matched by the Seattle Foundation’s Maren-Swenson Fund administered. Again, this is proof of the critical role that Youth and Family Services plays in the life of this community.

On Feb. 13 plan to arrive at the Community Center between 7 and 7:30 a.m. Hundreds of friends and neighbors, as well as some special visitors, will be there with you.

In this fast-paced, hectic world, we often forget that communing with others is an important part of our emotional health. Need an excuse to do this? We can’t think of a better one than Giving from the Heart. See you there.

Roger Page and Bruce Peters are both Mercer Island residents.

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