Dear Mercer Island Community,
We write you today to ask for your help. You may be wondering “Why?”
Because your help is necessary to maintain mental health counselors as a vital resource in Mercer Island public schools. And because your financial support is needed to sustain our children’s health and well being.
At this moment in time, we face an unprecedented challenge funding your school counselors. As you might know, the licensed mental health counselors at each school are Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) Department employees–not Mercer Island School District employees. In partnership with the School District, these mental health professionals have been integrated into each school community – a best practice model of community health. These counselors offer all students and their parents confidential behavioral and emotional support, as well as offering teachers consultation and collaboration. The MIYFS school-based counselors, teachers, and school staff together form a comprehensive team to support and help students make the most of their academic environment.
For 35 years, MIYFS has partnered with the Mercer Island School District to provide school-based services, and until recently, the School District and the City shared most costs equally. In 2009, facing statewide educational funding cuts, the District was forced to significantly reduce (from 43% to 12%) their portion of funding for the counselors. Since that time, MIYFS has continued funding the school counseling positions using Department reserves and new revenues. But the reserves are nearly gone, and revenue sources have not kept up with the cost of the services.
Over this next year, MIYFS will explore additional funding options to maintain our community’s highly regarded school-based counselor partnership. The development of a sustainable future funding configuration for this partnership involves all of us – City staff, MI School District leaders, elected officials, and you.
Simply put, we need your help to fund these counselors.
Please consider a gift to Mercer Island Youth & Family Services today through our secure Donate Now link. If we all step up to help, then all school counselors would be fully funded. Your support, no matter the size, will help us sustain Mercer Island’s reputation for high quality education by supporting the social and emotional development of all our children.
MIYFS Foundation Board President
(and parent of children who’ve attended all five public schools!)