By Jody Kris
Special to the Reporter
The Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Foundation will celebrate the 30-year anniversary of its founding at the annual breakfast on Feb. 13, 2019 – where everyone is encouraged to “Give from the Heart.”
The Foundation was established in 1989 — 16 years after the social services foster care program was first established on Mercer Island in 1973. The sole mission of the Foundation — to support financially the operations of MIYFS — grew out of the aim of the volunteer rummage sale project in 1975: to raise money to augment funding that the social services agency received at first from the federal government and, after 1976, from the City of Mercer Island when it became a municipal department for Youth Services.
The annual breakfast will honor the foresight and fortitude of the pioneers who established the foundation, as well as all ensuing board members and volunteers that have made the foundation a major funding source for an innovative and diversified human services department not replicated elsewhere in the state of Washington. In 2018, the foundation contributed $337,668 to MIYFS to support its operations in eight critical areas: mental health counseling in schools, family and individual counseling, senior services, healthy youth initiative (including drug prevention), family and emergency assistance, youth leadership and community service, diversion and early intervention for youth and volunteer/community service opportunities at the Thrift Shop.
The 2019 annual breakfast theme – “30 years, 30 stories” – celebrates the positive impact the MIYFS Foundation has on our community today through testimonials of a wide array of residents who have received support and assistance to live a healthy and fulfilling life within an interconnected and caring community. The MIYFS Foundation Annual Breakfast brings together more than 600 MIYFS supporters to showcase the depth and breadth of financial support that has enabled Mercer Island to provide high quality, research-based social services across the lifespan to all who need them.
Jody Kris is the president of Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Foundation.