Smile Power

  Echo Glen Children's Center

Echo Glen is a Washington State Juvenile Detention facility and a school operated by the Issaquah School District.  There are approximately 125 youth as young as 10 and up to 20 years old that come from every part of the state; all have great untapped potential. National studies show that 80 to 85% of young people in the juvenile justice system have at one time been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. This seems to be a continuous cycle - one that Echo Glen staff is determined to break. These kids crave positive attention from adults and need good role models.  Nearly all have dangerously low self-esteem.

International Smile Power volunteers began partnering with Echo Glen youth and staff in 1999.  Our first outreach created a bridge of friendship between the youth at EG and orphans in Bolivia.  We saw how life-transforming helping others can be for these youth which led to inviting more caring adults to surround these great kids in many more ways.

Background checks are required and you must over 21 to interact with the youth, but prep work can be done by any age or group.

Here are opportunities to show these appreciative kids that you care (ascending order of time commitment):

  • BIRTHDAY CAKES– provide a cake once a month or once a year for a child who would not otherwise receive one. (no age minimum)
  • ANNUAL GOLF CLINICS If you have a slight ability to swing a golf club, please join us.  Inspire a child – help them find a new talent or hobby. First week of August
  • CAREERS AND CONTINUING EDUCATION - Every February, June and October - Share about your career choice and help inspire the youth to imagine and then to define what their ideal crime-free future looks like.
  • COMMUNITY SERVICE SOCIALSCome chat with 3 or 4 youth while helping them with a project that helps others. 
  • ART DOCENT 2 volunteers go into a class of 10 students once a month from 12:20 PM to 1:35 PM (day of month decided by EG teacher and volunteers).  NO artistic talent required – lesson plans and supplies are provided.  Be a lead docent or assist.
  • MY ACTION PLAN - Meet once a week with a youth to help them create their own re-entry action plan
  • COOKING - Help the youth to learn to read and cook simple but nutritional recipes.  Work with the same 'cottage' (living quarters) of kids once or twice a month, whatever works in your schedule. 
  • BOOK CLUB - NEW -meet with a small group of kids every week or every-other week.  You and the youth choose the book, timing is somewhat flexible
  • MUSIC - NEW - Vision is to create, provide and expand positive life-changing experiences through music to all residents.  Our goal is provide the opportunity to our residents to grow, cope, heal, and thrive through music. The music arts can provide an outlet for addressing emotional and/or problem behaviors through opportunities to learn new skills, develop new talents, and express thoughts and ideas in creative and therapeutic ways.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY -NEW -This program is intended to empower residents through photography and videography.  It gives the residents an opportunity to produce their own photos and short videos, and teaches them how to develop negatives into positives. 
  • WISH LISTS to help the youth rewrite the scripts of their lives.  Purchase items from one of our wish lists that supports the programs that support the youth.
  • ANGEL CLOSET - Items are needed for youth that arrive without needed clothing. Specifically, needed are boy's tennis shoes in sizes 8 and larger,  tennis shoes in all sizes for girls, and jackets or coats for boys and girls.

Other opportunities:

  • Share art after school (anytime between 2:45PM & 5PM) in a 'cottage'.
  • Help with the Canine Connections program that pairs rescued dogs with troubled kids.  Need groomers too.
  • Summer Doggie Day Care/Boarding
  • Tutor kids in various school subjects
  • Help in the Recreation Department – help coach a sport or some other activity If you have a passion – there are children who would love to have you share it with them.
To join us, donate arts & crafts supplies, have your group fund raise to support the EG events, or if you have an idea about how to further support the youth – email

Want to learn more about who the kids are at Echo Glen?
Check out these videos:

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