Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation expands counseling program

Starting in April, the families of ESD students will also be able to talk to counselors.

Enumclaw’s Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation has been busy growing this last year.

Not only is the local nonprofit eager to move into a new building where it can host all of its programs, but a $60,000 grant from Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is helping expand its counseling services at the Enumclaw School District, starting around April.

According to Executive Director Sara Stratton, Rainier Foothills currently partners with Maple Valley-based Eidens Therapy Group to supply three counselors for ESD students, from 6th to 12th grade, to use during the school year (minus breaks). Roughly 200 students utilize these one-on-one or group therapy services, which is partly funded by the cities of Enumclaw and Black Diamond, as well as the Muckleshoot Tribe and Mutual of Enumclaw.

But thanks to the new grant, RFWF will be able to hire a fourth counselor later this spring, which will mean students be able to receive counseling services year ‘round – including holidays and summer break – and their families can receive as well.

This program is free.

“It’s all paid for up-front, so there’s no insurance requirements,” Stratton said. “We tried to eliminate as many barriers to access as possible, one of those being the transportation barrier.”

Additionally, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health granted Plateau Outreach Ministries, another local nonprofit, $25,000 to partner with RFWF for emergency services.

“So often the kids we are working with currently – and of course, their families too, we’re able to identify that they have other outstanding needs – food support, or clothing support… or rent support,” Stratton said. “We will refer them to the case managers at POM… to help them with their emergency services.”

These expanded services come at a time when student mental health challenges seem to be ever-increasing.

According to the Healthy Youth Survey, a program run by the Washington State Department of Health that surveys students about substance use and metal health, roughly 72% of King County 10th graders said they felt nervous, anxious, or on edge for “several days” within the past two weeks; that’s up from the 68% that reported the same back in 2018.

Additionally, about 57% of 10th grade King County students they were unable to stop or control their worrying for several days or more in that two-week span, and about 35% reported depressive feeling for several days or more during that time period.

To connect with RFWF’s mental health services, you can call the nonprofit at 360-802-3206 or saras@rfwellnessfoundation.org.


In conjunction with its expanded mental health services for ESD students and their families, Stratton wanted to remind the community that RFWF’s Care Van can help people get to and from all medical-related appointments – which includes counseling and therapy.

“It’s not just for seniors. For example, when we launched this program for community counseling… if somebody needed transportation support, be it any age, we can offer that,” she said. “The care van is open to anyone with a transportation need. They don’t have to meet any disability requirement or… age minimum.”

The Care Van currently transports people to and from Black Diamond, Enumclaw, Greenwater, Buckley, South Prairie, and Carbonado.

“We have hopes to expand into Bonney Lake, but that’s not official yet at all,” Stratton added.

To schedule a Care Van ride, call 360-802-3206.