‘A terrific blessing’ brings pleasure and assist to a Redmond single mom and her 4 youngsters

REDMOND — Julie and Vincent Iiyambo frantically pushed their plastic spatulas ahead, attempting to maintain the runny egg combination from falling off the griddle because it started to cook dinner.

“Begin stirring!”

At a room-sharing dance on the boys’ Redmond condo, Harvey Trager, 63, helped Julie, Vincent and their brother Sem put together breakfast. The three of them alternated cracking eggs over the facet of the sink, flipping smeared bacon on the griddle, and dumping doughy tinned biscuits onto a baking sheet.

Amid the turmoil, Trager requested the youngsters about their courses.

Vincent was writing a report on the Blackfeet Nation for his fifth grade class. Julie, a 3rd grader, nonetheless did not know the way she did on her math take a look at. Sem admitted that she continues to be attempting to determine the proportions.

“If I make a cake with two cups of flour and 1 / 4 cup of sugar,” Trager requested the seventh grader, “is that proportional?”

Shem shook her head.

The Iiyambo and Trager household related by the Japanese Youth Companies Mentoring for Success Program, which matches adults with college students within the Bellevue and Lake Washington college districts. This system is right for kids from single-parent properties or those that want tutorial help.

Yearly, Seattle Occasions Fund for the Needy raises cash for charities that assist youngsters, households and seniors. All through the season, we inform the tales of individuals and organizations making a distinction within the lives of hundreds and the impression donors could make.

▪︎ Make a tax-deductible donation to the Fund for the Needy

Esther Iiyambo, a single mom of 4, enrolled her son Sem in this system as a result of she was involved that she alone wouldn’t have the ability to present him with the help he wanted.

Shem was shy. He would typically search out his youthful brother, Vincent, to assist reply questions he was requested.

Esther Iiyambo felt that he wanted a male function mannequin and somebody who may take the time to work with him on his homework.

At first, that is precisely what Trager and Sem did. They’d arrange a tutoring station on the kitchen desk and work on math equations and science initiatives. Trager would use a whiteboard to exhibit the tougher workout routines.

It was not in contrast to the assistance Trager gave his personal youngsters, Carly and Josh, now adults.

Trager progressively started to take away the Iiyambo youngsters from the home. They’d go on native hikes, play miniature golf, and exit for pizza.

Earlier than she met him, her weekends usually consisted of enjoying video video games and going to church, Iiyambo stated. That they had not seen a waterfall or gone to the zoo.

“After just a few months, I went from one to 3,” Trager stated. He’s now a mentor to all of the youngest youngsters of Iiyambo. KJ, Iiyambo’s eldest son, is in grade 11. He generally additionally likes to accompany him on adventures with Trager.

He is actually a father determine, Iiyambo stated of Trager.

Youth Eastside Companies (YES) supplies psychological well being and substance use counseling, remedy providers, and different social help for fogeys and youngsters within the area. He’s certainly one of 13 recipients of The Seattle Occasions Fund for the Needy.

East Aspect Youth Companies

| Fund for the needy

your {dollars} at work

Youth Eastside Companies serves folks from delivery to 22 years of age and their households by a wide range of behavioral well being providers. The company gives evidence-based psychological well being care, substance use remedy, and academic applications. For extra info: youtheastsideservices.org

$25: Helps dad and mom within the Dad or mum-Youngster Interactive Remedy (PCIT) program obtain a PCIT pocket ebook that helps dad and mom in training expertise to attach with their youngsters.

$50: Assist pay for a present card that immediately helps a household by offering them with the essential requirements they want, permitting them to concentrate on their remedy.

$100: Assist a teen who was launched from a hospital for a suicide try start his restoration with an consumption evaluation and scheduling his first appointment.

$200: Helps highschool college students be taught wholesome coping expertise by subscribing to a college presentation facilitated by a licensed Youth Eastside Companies therapist.

The mentoring program presently has 14 mentor-mentee matches, in response to YES employees. The youngsters are between the ages of 6 and 18 and plenty of dwell in Bellevue, Kirkland and Issaquah. They meet with their mentors for 2 to 4 hours per week and obtain tutorial help, equivalent to homework assist and alternatives to discover the world.

This system is a minimal of 1 12 months previous, however many {couples} have been collectively for much longer. Some met when the boy was in elementary college and continued their relationship till the teenager graduated.

Trager has been with the Iiyambo household since June 2019.

“A terrific blessing”

The weekend earlier than Thanksgiving, Trager introduced his electrical griddle over to the household’s dwelling and helped with breakfast. After loading the dishwasher, they walked throughout the road to downtown Redmond to play soccer.

Each weekend, the youngsters spend hours with Trager; they typically cook dinner, stroll, play soccer or go swimming. If the climate is unhealthy, they will go outdoors to see a film, cook dinner at dwelling or play board video games.

Normally that is Iiyambo’s solely downtime.

Your alarm goes off at 3:30 am Monday by Friday. And she or he has her morning routine to the minute: pray, bathe, dress, make herself a cup of tea, and stroll to the 4:30 am bus.

She is normally the final of her crew out the door, typically just a few hours late. On college nights, she cooks dinner at 3:30 p.m., the youngsters eat at 6:00 p.m., and everybody will get to her rooms by 8:00 p.m.

On weekends, Esther Iiyambo catches up on home tasks and likewise tries to catch her breath.

“He is an awesome blessing,” she stated of Trager.

I anticipated the mentor to be somebody who would spend just a few hours every week to assist with homework, however Trager has develop into a part of the household.

“Expensive Mr. Harvey! Thanks for being there for us, thanks for taking us to the park and enjoying soccer and basketball. Thanks for educating us to cook dinner,” reads a Father’s Day signal for Trager. “Thanks for guiding us, thanks for serving to us with our homework, thanks for being affected person when it was troublesome for us. We thanks for supporting us, encouraging us. Thanks on your love, laughter that you’ve got introduced into our lives. We’re ceaselessly grateful.”

Trager is a product supervisor for a Snohomish County-based firm that designs and manufactures take a look at instruments for varied industries. His employer moved him, his spouse, Lisa, and his youngsters to the Pacific Northwest from Detroit three a long time in the past, and he had lengthy been on the lookout for methods to provide again to the neighborhood.

He toyed with the concept of ​​constructing homes with Habitat for Humanity, amongst others, however nothing actually piqued his curiosity.

Trager signed up for the mentoring program after attending an Japanese Youth Companies occasion. There, a mom and her son talked in regards to the relationship that they had constructed together with her mentor and the way the help had improved their lives.

Iiyambo got here to the US from Namibia when he was in highschool. His dad and mom have been survivors of the Namibian Warfare of Independence. He speaks 13 dialects and languages, together with English.

In her bed room is a stack of diplomas and certificates. Amongst them are: Argosy College, Borough of Manhattan Neighborhood Faculty, Bellevue Faculty, Lake Washington Technical Faculty.

She is a survivor of home violence and has needed to begin her life from scratch to guard her youngsters. Earlier than discovering her dwelling in Redmond, she navigated two east facet shelters and plenty of resort rooms.

“It was very arduous,” he stated. “However I by no means gave up.”

Now, she’s relying on Trager to assist take a number of the stress off her and her youngsters.

Trager stated that Esther Iiyambo reminds her a little bit of her personal mom.

His dad and mom, like Esther, have been immigrants.

They have been hiding in Nazi-occupied Japanese Europe and have been in a refugee camp earlier than immigrating to the US. When Trager was a toddler, they labored lengthy hours and did not converse a lot English. Trager’s father died when he was 12 and his mom continued to work six days per week to help him and his three siblings.

Trager stated being part of the mentoring program and assembly the Iiyambo household has given him only a glimpse of the challenges single dad and mom face.

There are a lot of extra on the market, stated Esther Iiyambo. And he DOES want extra mentors.

“There’s a Jewish phrase: tikkun olam,” Trager stated. “Which means doing issues higher; making the world higher. I really feel like, in a really small method, I am serving to make issues higher for some folks.”

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