Vashon Youth and Family Services (VYFS) is a non-profit organization established in 1977 to serve the community on Vashon-Maury Island. Its mission focuses on nurturing the wellness and emotional health of the Island’s children and their families so that they will thrive. No one in need is ever turned away.
VYFS partners with a number of schools and agencies in order to provide a wide range of services to those in need. These services include support to people who suffer from substance abuse, are living in poverty, are homeless, or who require urgent financial support. VYFS provides counseling and crisis intervention at schools to help at-risk students get through their emotional and other crises. Parents receive support in building a healthy family life for their children.
Support Services For Parents and Families
VYFS helps hundreds of Island families every year in developing a nurturing home environment that every child deserves. It operates the Island’s only early childhood development and parent support program. Its Family Education and Support Service is widely popular as it helps parents in understanding the development of their children. The program includes individualized coaching and counseling, parenting classes and workshops, support groups, and play groups for the children. Through this program, parents are brought together to form a social network where they can share experiences and mutually support each other.
VYFS provides invaluable assistance to any family that is faced with a crisis. Help includes assistance with housing, support with emergency financial needs, help with job search, and much more. VYFS coordinates their efforts with school based programs so that students continue to get individualized support when they are in school. VYFS offers a vast array of resources and educates families on how they can deal with their problems so that they can overcome obstacles with confidence.
VYFS operates the only after-school childcare program for elementary school students. The program is affordable and allows working parents the flexibility to juggle work and household management without worrying about the safety of their young children. The trained childcare staff provides an enriching environment where children can learn, play and develop an acceptance of differences that will undoubtedly help them in becoming well-rounded teenagers.
Assistance With Basic Needs
VYFS addresses the problems often faced by Island families who lack basic resources essential to a healthy life. Individuals and families faced with a financial crisis can seek help from the organization’s VIVA program. Support includes small grants that can help in paying for food, shelter, medicine, utilities, transportation, and other basic needs. The team at VIVA partners with charitable organizations in providing this critical assistance, and funding is supplemented by the generous donations from individuals and agencies.
VYFS provides the Island’s only licensed mental health clinic. Trained counselors help individuals, families, adolescents, and children deal with challenges and stressors that make their lives difficult. Counseling sessions are offered individually as well as in therapeutic groups. People who suffer from drug and alcohol issues can get support. Those who need referrals to psychiatric services can also receive assistance.
VYFS Fills A Critical Gap In Social Services
People on Vashon Island who need help often do not know where to go for assistance. They may feel like help is too difficult to access because they live too far away from the mainland and cannot afford to travel far distances for services. Sometimes they simply lack access to the right information. As a result, their problems get worse. This is where VYFS makes a difference. The organization makes itself available as the first stop for anyone who needs help from social services. This encourages those with the highest risk to seek help before problems get out of hand.
VYFS provides clients with a safe and confidential setting in which they can talk about their problems and seek solutions. VYFS offers help without judgement so that the client can heal, develop, and continue on the right path. Assistance is never denied from anyone because of the inability to pay.
VYFS Needs Your Help
VYFS would not be able to provide this vast array of essential resources without the generous donations from individuals, foundations, and service providers. The organization faces funding challenges every year as it tries to meet the needs of hundreds of family on a limited budget. Donations go directly back to the community to fund essential services. Without VYFS, many families will be left without accessible resources. VYFS heavily relies on donations in order to continue these valuable services.
VYFS is also grateful for the number of volunteers who help out in making this program a success. The organization depends on volunteers to help in a wide variety of projects including clerical support, communication, event organization, fundraising, landscape maintenance, and many others. Those who want a rewarding experience in supporting the Island community and its children are strongly encouraged to contact VYFS for more information.