Echo Glen is a Washington State Juvenile Detention facility and a school run by the Issaquah School District. There are 160 to 185 great kids between the ages of 9 and 19. Most have been neglected or abused by parent(s) who may have also been neglected & abused. It seems to be a continuous cycle — one that Echo Glen staff is determined to break. Many of the parents have too many issues of their own to be able to give attention & love to their incarcerated children. These kids crave positive attention from adults and need good role models. Nearly all have dangerously low self-esteem.
Ways to Serve
Do you like to bake cupcakes? Have a heart for young teens?
This is a great opportunity to come alongside the kids at Echo Glen as they are learning to “give back.” Once a month, always the week of the 3rd Monday we help the kids bake cupcakes (birthday desserts) and create cards that are given to Tent City 4 residents for their monthly birthday celebration.
Help troubled youth help others
Volunteers chat with 3 or 4 youth while helping them with a project. We have made fleece scarves for the homeless, baby blankets for moms and babes-in-need, and therapy dolls for Children’s Hospital patients. Must be over 21 to attend.
It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
Give and it will be given to you. Luke 6:38
Help others, and you will be helped. Proverbs 11:25
- Volunteer at the social
- Donate art or craft supplies
- Supply a pasta machine for us to use with clay
- Share a service project idea
Annual Summer Golf Clinic
Come surround these kids with good adult role models and demonstrate that we as a community care about them.
These clinics will be led by skilled coaches. All you need to do is help individual kids put into practice what the instructor teaches. All equipment has been donated. If you know how to hold a club, you know more than most of the youth.Learn More
Positive ways for these kids to express themselves
These great kids need positive ways to express themselves. Studies have shown that at-risk kids who participate in art programs develop higher self-esteem, more self-discipline, better social skills and over-all improved behavior. Art improves attitudes toward school and resistance to peer pressure. It increases the development of communication, cooperation, problem solving and creative thinking.
Creative projects can open up these kids minds and allow them to discover new talents. They can actually be motivated by their artwork.
How the program works
A team of 2 volunteers go into a class of 10 students once per month from Noon – 1:30 PM — day of month decided by EG teacher and you, the volunteer. NO artistic talent required – lesson plans & supplies are provided. Be a lead docent or assistant:Lead Docent facilitates lessons & projects which are already written with corresponding posters of ‘
- Lead Docent facilitates lessons & projects which are already written with corresponding posters of ‘master pieces’. This is the same program as most elementary schools have. The only thing you need is to be comfortable leading a discussion for 5-10 minutes (discussion info provided & the kids do most of the talking). There are no more than 10 students per class. After the discussion you help them with their art project.
- Assistant sets up supplies & helps & encourage the students with their art project. All supplies are provided.
This is an extremely rewarding program. The kids absolutely love having their docents come in & look forward to our monthly projects. It is therapeutic for at-risk kids to be able to express themselves through art. For some, this is the one thing they can really succeed at.
These children come to understand that we invest our time because we care; their lives are changed forever when they discover someone cares.
Take a birthday cake to a child who would otherwise not receive one
Echo Glen youth come from all over the state of Washington. Most either have family too far away to visit often or their parents have too many issues of their own to be able to give attention, time, and love to their incarcerated children.
Be the hands and feet of Jesus and tell these kids you care by to providing a cake for their birthday celebrations. Volunteers get an email or phone call the last week of each month to see which birth date in the following month works best for them.
Volunteers deliver a cake large enough so that the birthday child can celebrate with all their ‘cottage’ mates – which is up to 18 youth total. Those who don’t bake can fax orders down to Costco or another store & pick up a cake on their way to Echo Glen. Or you can bake a cake with your kids. This usually requires two cake mix boxes. You can sign up to take a cake once a year or once a month.
- A birthday card telling them you are thinking about them & care
- Plates or napkins are OK to send but not expected or required
No gifts please – children are the same everywhere – if one gets a gift & the other does not, they feel shorted & less loved.
Since most of us do not have a relationship with the birthday child, we simply drop the cakes off at the office by 5:00 PM the day of the birthday (or you can deliver it the day before). But a great way to meet some of these awesome kids would be to join us in the classrooms to help with the art docent program or humanitarian outreaches throughout the year.
Invitation to women only…Help boost a troubled girl’s self-esteem
The girls at Echo Glen have dangerously low self-esteem. These girls need good female role models to give them positive attention so they can go back out into the world and face it with their heads held high in confidence and make good choices.
Echo Glen staff is dedicated to their kids and wants to help them develop confidence in themselves and their ability to be upstanding contributing adults. Unfortunately, most girls here have never learned many basic things that a mother teaches her daughter. That is where you can help. Spend an hour or so with a group of 8 to 18 girls. This could be just once in one ‘cottage’ or in each of the 5 ‘cottages’ that house girls. Echo Glen has a staff member that teaches the importance of good diet and fitness but anything else you can share with them would be great.
- Nails – how to do a manicure and pedicure; how to care for nails
- Hair – good cuts for their face shape, how to care for, homemade conditioning hair treatments
- Fashion – fashions for every body type, perhaps involve a retail store to show upcoming fashions
- Skin care – facials, help them make homemade mask treatments
- Creating a great first impression
- Massage therapy – foot massages…
- Beauty secrets
- Managing finances
- Anything that would be fun or pampering for a ‘girl’s afternoon together’
- Anything that a mom might normally teach her daughter
- Bible studies are great if you can commit to at least every other week
Unfortunately, Echo Glen has no budget for this program so any supplies required would need to be donated.
Annual international Smile Power outreach
Volunteers are needed to help the Echo Glen youth paint T-shirts and write friendship messages that will be delivered by Smile Power volunteers. Outreach dates vary each year depending on which county is being befriended – previous year’s gifts have gone to children in Bolivia, Uganda, or Romania.
Before painting t-shirts, the Echo Glen kids see photos & hear stories from the previous year’s outreach. When the Smile Power team returns from delivering the gifts, a follow-up assembly shows photos of the smiles they have put on the faces of all the children that received their gifts. All are welcome at these presentations, but it is not required for volunteering.
No artistic talent required – Volunteers present simple directions to the classes and then encourage the youth while they work. All supplies are provided.
3 Ways to Make a Difference
- Pray: Pray that we will be able to get through the protective shell that many of these emotionally-wounded children wear, and that we can plants seeds of God’s love in their hearts.
- Prep Work: Iron freezer paper to inside t-shirts. T-shirts can be taken home to pray over and iron at your convenience.
- Volunteer at Echo Glen: Help the Echo Glen youth paint T-shirts and write friendship messages.
Helping others has been life-transforming for these kids! It allows them to take their focus off themselves and their problems and to experience the joy and esteem building effect of helping others. They can learn first hand that this golden rule benefits the giver as much as the receiver. These kids feel empowered and realize they can have a future and do have something to offer the world!
This outreach has been life-changing for many children in previous years.
Marriam is a great example. Marriam and her friend Heather will be spending 25 years behind bars for a crime Heather’s mother persuaded them to commit when they were 13 & 14 years old. Marriam and Heather participated in this outreach their first year at Echo Glen. When we came back their 2nd year, Marriam stood up in front of all of her fellow inmates and said, “I used to be self-centered and think the world revolved around me. But after doing the t-shirts and seeing the smiles I put on the faces of the Bolivian kids, I realized I am happiest when I am helping others. So, Heather and me have spent this last year making scarves and hats for those orphans.”
Like Marriam, many of the children at Echo Glen have been led astray by parents who perpetuated the mistakes of their parents. These children desperately need good adult role models; they need, crave & appreciate positive attention from caring adults. They may take your heart as you fall in love with their eagerness to help other children that they view as being worse off than they are.
These children would love for you to share your passion with them.
- Tutor kids in various school subjects
- Mentor – similar to being a Big Brother or Big Sister; just hang out & spend time with one child
- Help in the Recreation Department – help coach a sport or some other activity.
How to get involved
You can volunteer up to 3 times simply by contacting the Echo Glen Outreach Coordinator:
To become a regular volunteer, you’ll need to submit an application so that Echo Glen can conduct a background check. This process takes 2-4 weeks, so leave plenty of time before your next scheduled volunteer assignment. To minimize processing time:
- Fill in every blank and be sure to include three references.
- Contact your references in advance and ask them to return Mary from Echo Glen’s call as soon as possible.
- Print very legibly in dark blue or black ink. Difficult to read applications often get set aside while the easier to read ones are completed.
Mail or hand deliver completed applications to Mary Kirkman at the Echo Glen address below. Once cleared to volunteer you will be mailed a welcome packet. Then you will complete an orientation which includes reading and signing the HIPAA privacy agreement. After that you are good to volunteer for years to come.
Echo Glen Children’s Center
33010 SE 99th St
Snoqualmie, WA 98065
Directions from Issaquah:
- I-90 east to Snoqualmie Parkway Exit #25
- Left off exit onto Snoqualmie Parkway
- Left at SE 99/Echo Glen Children’s Center street sign (opposite Leisure Time Resort)
- Proceed down the road
- Push the call button at the gate to identify yourself
- Follow the signs to the administration building and park in the lot
It is best to lock your purse & cell phone in your car with your car keys in your pocket. Sign in at the front desk and they will direct you from there.