Editor’s note: This feature is part of an ongoing series that highlights nonprofit organizations serving the Mercer Island community.
What is the mission of your organization? Friends of Youth delivers a broad range of services to youth and their families to improve their emotional stability and self-sufficiency. We serve youth and young adults in three core areas: Child Welfare Services, Youth and Family Services, and Homeless Youth Services.
How many people does your organization help? Our agency annually serves more than 6,500 children, youth, young adults and their families. We believe that all youth should have the opportunity to succeed, and our services are designed to fulfill that vision in three core areas:
Child Welfare Services: Friends of Youth offers foster care, extended foster care, emergency shelter and residential treatment services to young people. In fiscal year 2017 (FY17) we served 240 children in our programs.
Youth and Family Services: Friends of Youth provides counseling, home visits, prevention services, and parenting programs for children, youth and families in the Issaquah, Snoqualmie Valley and Riverview School District communities. In FY17 we provided services to 4,463 children, youth, and young adults.
Homeless Youth Services: Friends of Youth offers a continuum of critical services for homeless youth and young adults, including street outreach, drop-in services, case management, emergency overnight shelters, housing, education and employment support. We served 1,415 youth in our homeless youth programs in FY17.
What is your greatest need? Financial support for our outreach program for young people experiencing homelessness in East King County. Our Outreach team works to build relationships with youth and young adults while providing them with supplies to meet their basic needs and connecting them to our emergency shelters, case management, counseling, housing, education and employment programs. We provide both street outreach (traveling to 16 Eastside cities each week) and drop in services (available seven days a week in Redmond). We are actively seeking financial support to maintain our four person outreach team in 2018.
How can the community help your organization? We cannot do our work alone! We rely on the partnership and support of a caring community to ensure that all of our children, youth and families have what they need to thrive. If your gift is culinary in nature, we could sure use your support as a meal donors for our shelter and outreach program. Each night, volunteers provide a delicious meal for up to 30 guests at our shelter. Breakfast in the morning and lunch during drop in hours are also gratefully accepted. To learn more about how to become a meal donor, contact our volunteer coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recruit and license foster parents—and we are eagerly seeking new foster homes to respond to the need for caring placements for children and youth in the foster care system. From respite care to full time care, we need caring adults who can open up their hearts and homes to children in need. Our recruiter can be reached at Elizabeth@friendsofyouth.org.
What is the best way for the community to contact you? Through our website, www.friendsofyouth.org. To donate: http://www.friendsofyouth.org/donateNow.aspx. To volunteer: email@example.com. To learn more about foster care: Elizabeth@friendsofyouth.org.