Mercer Island Youth and Family Services seeks community support

MIYFS will host its annual breakfast this Wednesday and hopes for generosity after Prop. 1 failure.

The Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) Foundation Annual Breakfast takes place Wednesday morning with an all-day “Shop Local” event, during which 11 local businesses will donate 20 percent of their profit for the day.

“We are celebrating the 30th year since the founding of the MIYFS Foundation,” said foundation president Jody Kris. “Much of the success of our business partner-Shop Local program has arisen from cultivation of these business owners by the Foundation over the years.”

The Shop Local event accompanies the breakfast each year and all the proceeds go towards supporting the programs and services offered by the MIYFS.

MIYFS has faced numerous budget cuts with the failure of Prop. 1, according to Kris, so the foundation asks locals to help it exceed last year’s donation totals, asking for at least $250 from each breakfast guest.

“The Foundation is hoping to rely on the generosity of our community to enable the Foundation to make enough to retain and restore some of those services,” Kris said. “We hope that everyone will consider giving more. And, for those who cannot attend the event, we hope that they will donate generously online.”

At last year’s breakfast, more than 600 Islanders donated $215,000 during the breakfast alone, before local businesses made their contribution. This was a 16 percent increase over 2017’s “in the room” total and averages out to more than $350 per person.

MIYFS supports local families in need with emergency assistance, a food bank, employment assistance, a job board and connections to state and federal resources. Additionally, the foundation offers counseling services to all individuals, mental health counselors to Mercer Island public schools and a geriatric specialist offering counseling, consultation and care management.

“For anyone who has lived on the Island for awhile, almost everyone is aware of someone who has used MIYFS services,” Kris said. “Many school age parents have met the school counselors and appreciate their watchful eye and compassion shown to all students. Because Mercer Island is wonderfully multi-generational, the community is very aware of the importance of keeping seniors engaged and understand the value of providing geriatric services to help families keep the senior generation independent, well and fulfilled.”

The event was one of many that were delayed by the early February snowstorms, moving from Feb. 13 to March 6. Typically, the event is always held near Valentines Day and this year, Kris said they had a nearly filled room. MIYFS polled attendees on postponing event and received a “robust” response in favor of the delay, which Kris said was the right choice in retrospect.

“The forecasts were ominous,” Kris added. “We have a large population of attendees – both seniors and school age parents – who likely would not have been able to attend in slippery conditions or if school was closed.”

MIYFS is a department of the city of Mercer Island, and receives funding from many sources, including the Mercer Island Thrift Shop, the city’s General Fund and the foundation.

“We have so many great business partners,” said Sari Weiss, development officer at MIYFS.

Businesses participating in the Shop Local event include All the Best Pet Care, Au Courant The Den, Auto Spa, Island Books, Island Treats, Mercer Island Athletic Club, Mioposto Pizzeria & Bar, Pete’s South Mercer Chevron, Studio 904, Terra Bella and Yogabliss.