Youth and Family Services is here for everyone | Island Forum

Join MIYFS for its annual breakfast on Feb. 7 to celebrate 16 years of giving from the heart.

  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018 1:30pm
  • Opinion

Dear Friends,

On the morning of Feb. 7, Jenny McPherson and I are co-chairing the 2018 Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) Foundation Breakfast at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. This event is the main fundraiser for the MIYFS Foundation, which provides significant financial support for the services of MIYFS. I would like to share some of my personal reasons for supporting MIYFS, in the hopes that you will join me and hundreds of our neighbors in supporting its important work in our community.

I first learned of MIYFS through the counselors in our son’s school, as I suspect is true for many of Island parents. Our family moved to Mercer Island from Alaska after my husband finished his service with the Air Force. Our first-grader had some challenges in adapting to the move and making new friends.

Enter Julie Mattson, MSW and MIYFS-funded counselor at Lakeridge. In her gentle and encouraging way, Julie provided our son with the tools and support that he needed to navigate through the social and emotional challenges of being a new student. That 6-year-old is now a thriving middle schooler, but I honestly don’t know if he would be as comfortable in his skin as he is now without Julie’s guidance. And his younger brother has also always known that Ms. Mattson is available to help whenever he or his schoolmates need it. Julie’s work at Lakeridge is reflective of the MIYFS counselors at all Mercer Island public schools, and I imagine many of you could tell your own stories about how these counselors have helped our children thrive.

When I learned that MIYFS funding makes it possible to have a licensed mental health counselor embedded at every public school on Mercer Island, I felt compelled to give back to this organization that had helped our family so much. I started by volunteering at the Mercer Island Food Pantry, located in Luther Burbank Park. I was surprised to learn that the pantry averages more than 30 visits per week from Mercer Island residents who are food insecure. The pantry shelves are stocked with donations from our generous community, and yet the need persists. Our donations to MIYFS make it possible for the pantry to supplement food donations with items needed by many of our neighbors, including frequent requests for staples such as toilet paper.

The food pantry and embedded mental health counselors in the schools are just two of the many essential services that MIYFS provides. Thanks to your support, MIYFS is also able to run the following programs:

• Youth Leadership and Community Service (Voice and SVP). In recent years, 300 Island kids donated 10,000 hours for more than 50 nonprofits on the Island and in King County.

• Mercer Island Thrift Shop. Its proceeds support MIYFS programs, and it provides a supportive work experience for youth and young adults with disabilities.

• Healthy Youth Initiative. This helps to prevent the harm caused by youth drug and alcohol use, depression, anxiety and other risk behaviors through community advocacy and education.

• Mental Health Services. MIYFS provides counseling for Islanders on a sliding fee scale.

• Diversion and Early Intervention. Arrested youth are re-focused on positive learning experiences while being held accountable for illegal behavior.

• Senior Outreach and Advocacy. MIYFS offers a full range of services to our seniors and their families including consultation, counseling and care management.

• Family and Emergency Assistance. This provides temporary support for Islanders in crisis or facing unexpected hardship, including rent and utility assistance, and holiday, back to school and employment assistance.

Please join me on Feb. 7 for breakfast. Together let’s celebrate 16 years of Giving from the Heart and do our part to support this community treasure that is “Here for Everyone.” To register, or donate online if you cannot attend, please go to or call Sari Weiss at 206-275-7756.

Kate Lamperti is the co-chair of the 2018 MIYFS Foundation Annual Breakfast.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.


More in Opinion

Let’s hear it for bridges | Guest column

This week marks the 80th anniversary of the bridge that connects Mercer Island to downtown Seattle.

Richard Elfers is a columnist, a former Enumclaw City Council member and a Green River College professor.
Taiwan provides a blueprint for dealing with a pandemic

Taiwan is only 81 miles from mainland China where the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Why this newspaper is capitalizing Black | Editorial

Moving forward, the Mercer Island Reporter will capitalize Black when referring to… Continue reading

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact
Democrats have the edge in WA’s 2020 elections

Last year, most political insiders thought 2020 would be a big Democratic… Continue reading

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill Associates on Mercer Island.
Financial planning during these times of uncertainty

By Robert Toomey, Special to the Reporter Much of what we do… Continue reading

John Schreuder, MD FAAP, Mercer Island Pediatrics
Quarantine reflections from a Mercer Island physician

By John Schreuder, MD FAAP, Mercer Island Pediatrics I miss so many… Continue reading

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

Update on Mercer Island Reporter changes

Community newspaper continues to provide news during COVID-19 pandemic.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

KCLS has expanding its online resources so patrons can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active amid the pandemic.

The true meaning of community | Guest editorial

LWTech president Dr. Amy Morrison reflects on how the COVID-19 outbreak has brought the community together.

Deserving respect for being human | Windows and Mirrors

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Asians and Asian Americans have been targeted. Here’s what’s been happening on the Eastside.