A Celebration Cut Short VYFS marks the 10th Anniversary of iconic Island program during COVID-19 crisis

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Ten years ago, the dedicated staff and board of Vashon Youth and Family Services stepped up and committed to save a vital community asset that was about to be lost. The YMCA had been running Vashon Kids school and summer programs, but in 2010 they announced they would close their Vashon programs.

So a group of dedicated Islanders worked together and found the community support they needed to keep Vashon Kids open. They saved a valuable resource, and Vashon Kids became an integrated program of Vashon Youth and Family Services. Today, Vashon Kids provides care for 1 in 3 elementary age youth on Vashon, with 1 in 4 Island youth coming from low-income families.

“Vashon Kids is such a critical resource for our Island. Dalinda and her team have always been exceptional and it’s a seamless continuum of care from Chautauqua Elementary to Vashon Kids. And VYFS makes Vashon Kids accessible to all income levels through scholarships – please support VYFS and Vashon Kids!” – Connie Sorensen, Vashon Kids Mom and Advocate.

Vashon Youth and Family Services has operated Vashon Kids and its Washington State certified programming for the last ten years. Vashon Kids supports the development of social and emotional skills and ensures that our youth are succeeding academically and socially. The selfless work of VYFS staff and the care that Vashon Kids provides our Island youth have a ripple effect across the Island, helping families and our community to be safer, healthier and more resilient.

Vashon Kids is no ordinary child-care. Vashon Kids enriching curricula provide a wide range of experiences that stimulate physical, social, intellectual and emotional growth. VK staff work cooperatively with Vashon School District educators to provide learning opportunities that are coordinated with School District curricula and events.

“When we moved to Vashon 10 years ago for more affordable housing and better schools we were both commuting to our jobs and juggling the schedules of 5 and 12 year old boys. Vashon Kids was a huge blessing. Vashon Kids helped keep our family safe, healthy and engaged. THANK YOU VASHON KIDS, and thank you VYFS!!” – Vashon Kids Parent

Unfortunately, celebrations for Vashon Kids 10th Anniversary have been cut short by COVID-19. VYFS has cancelled its May 3rd celebration concert and reception featuring Caspar Babypants. However, VYFS is still working to achieve its goal of raising $50,000 for 2020 to support scholarships for Vashon Kids. These scholarships will be especially needed by working families that have suffered financially from COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Vashon Kids is open with a hybrid program in collaboration with the Vashon Island School District for those children whose parents are doing ‘necessary work’ as defined by the Governor. As soon as the ‘Stay at Home’ mandate is lifted, Vashon Kids will be ready to open immediately to help working families and those in need of childcare and enrichment programs. Contact vashonkids@vyfs.org or 206-930-2592 with any questions.

Vashon Youth and Family Services operates Vashon Kids with financial support from our Island neighbors. All donations, $5 or $5000, will help VYFS provide up to $50,000 of scholarships to keep Vashon Kids accessible to all families. Donations can be made online at vyfs.org or mailed to VYFS 20110 Vashon Hwy. SW, Vashon, WA 98070.