Whether residents gather in person or tune in virtually, the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) Foundation fundraising breakfast has been a crucial community event for the last two decades, according to the foundation’s Interim Executive Director Laura Oberto.
Entering its 21st year on Feb. 8 — and returning in person after two years due to the pandemic — the breakfast raises critical funding for YFS programming in the community and schools. The event, titled “Community, Connection, Compassion,” will occur at 7:30 a.m. at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. Island resident and KUOW host Bill Radke will step into the master of ceremonies role, and will be joined on stage by speakers Oberto and YFS Administrator Tambi Cork.
Also providing insight into YFS’s vital position in the community will be counselors and anonymous residents through video interviews interwoven throughout the event.
“There will be two short videos that I think are really impactful because they’ve been edited to pull out the most meaningful messages,” said Oberto, adding that the foundation will also present an award to a local organization that has made an immense difference in the community.
Oberto said it will be beneficial for the community to hear directly from the hard-working YFS counselors.
“We were in a mental health crisis before COVID started, but they said the intensity of the cases are harder,” said Oberto, adding that they expect more than 500 people to attend the event. For those who aren’t yet comfortable to attend in person, the foundation aims to produce a highlight video for later viewing.
Over the last two years, Island individuals, organizations and businesses supported YFS at the breakfast with about $460,000 (in 2022) and about $560,000 (in 2021) in funding. Presently, Oberto said they have made a commitment to the city to fund just over $500,000 to YFS on an ongoing basis.
“We are blessed in living in a really supportive community,” said Oberto, who noted that people stepped up and made the 2021 virtual breakfast the most successful one ever. “People were just overly generous in supporting YFS services, emergency assistance and mental health, which we needed.”
Community, connection and compassion abound on the Island through continuous YFS support along with funding the No Islander Goes Hungry (NIGH) initiative, holiday tree purchases and a multitude of other educational and funding opportunities, Oberto said.
“There’s an endless number of organizations that have worked together,” she said. On the compassion front, Oberto added that Islanders strive to “make a difference to keep this beautiful service that we have going.”
To register for the breakfast, visit https://breakfast.miyfs.org/