Letters to the Editor

VYFS needs support

I declare, with the deepest appreciation and gratitude, that Vashon Youth & Family Services (VYFS) is the mental health and human services lifeline in our community. Lifeline? Without doubt. Within our community and our schools, we have experienced a magnitude of human crisis over the past few years that is unsurpassed in my 30 years in education. And, in each case, when I have received the emergency call of devastating news during the day or night, my next call is to the director of VYFS. I know my first job is to provide a triage of support to our students and staff and then to continue to provide responsive care and intervention in the wake of the tragedy. Our partner is VYFS — immediately responsive with the highest quality service to provide safety, stability and compassionate counsel to support our school community.

Interestingly, we regard VYFS as if it were our Vashon Island Fire & Rescue for the human soul. We expect that VYFS will respond to our 911 call for emergency support services — and they do — immediately.  We anticipate that the service will be of the highest quality with expert leadership, highly trained crisis counselors and comprehensive services — and it is. We assume that when the crisis has passed that VYFS will stand beside us to review planning, determine necessary follow-up and to consider steps toward prevention — and they do.

We treat VYFS as if it were a tax-funded agency that will always be there for us. In fact, VYFS has experienced drastic funding reductions during the recent recession, receives no tax funding and is more dependent upon our local support than ever before.  We must adequately support our “911 for the human soul” so that it will always be there for us.

Please consider joining me in making a monthly contribution to sustain Vashon’s health and human services lifeline.

— Michael Soltman, superintendent,
Vashon Island School District

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