Issaquah foster home gets helping hand on Day of Caring

The buzz of a weed wacker, a hum of conversations and occasional laughter filled the air at an Issaquah foster home last week.

The buzz of a weed wacker, a hum of conversations and occasional laughter filled the air at an Issaquah foster home last week.

Tucked into a forested hillside, the Friends of Youth facility called “R House” has helped house 13 girls in the past seven years. But more importantly, it has been a true home, where parents Rainee and Shane Osborn have nurtured the girls that come into their care.

Sept. 12 was the annual United Way Day of Caring, and groups of volunteers helped out at nonprofit organizations throughout King County. A team of 19 people from Microsoft’s Commercial Solution Delivery department went to R House to help repaint walls, install a new toilet, take down a large, heavy satellite dish and do yard work.

“The goal of these projects is to create a clean and family-friendly environment for our young clients,” said Cheryl Schnelle, Friends of Youth’s volunteer coordinator. “Volunteer support for projects of this magnitude is definitely vital to our continuing to serve the teens in need.”

R House is one of seven such foster homes offering therapeutic foster care that Friends of Youth has throughout King and Snohomish counties. According to Friends of Youth, therapeutic foster care “caters to the physical, emotional and social needs of children and youths in a ‘substitute’ family setting until the natural family can be reunited or a permanent placement through adoption can be arranged.”

The Osborns’ family currently includes a 2-year-old they adopted, and a 14-year-old they are foster parenting. They have room for one more child.

“I’m very excited. I think it’s huge. This one day makes it so that the yard work is manageable the rest of the year,” said Rainee Osborn, who is a therapeutic foster parent. “This site in particular is really hard to keep up with the yard work and the kids’ needs — and the kids’ needs come first so it’s the yard work that doesn’t get done.”

In past years the family has had help on Day of Caring with yard work, but this is the first time they had assistance with projects indoors.

“They heard that we needed a toilet, and we’re getting a toilet. We’ve needed one since we moved in, in 2001,” Osborn said.

She explained that it’s important to she and her husband as well as program leaders at Friends of Youth that the facilities not be clinical — instead they are more family-friendly.

“We make it as homey as possible,” Osborn said.

To that end, some of the volunteers from the Microsoft team spent the day helping to repaint the living room, the kids’ rooms and other areas, all in colors that the family was allowed to choose.

“One day out of the year is the least we can do,” said Donna Taylor, group manager and project lead of the group. “It’s important to us, so we try to schedule it into our work load. … It’s good for team morale because you’re doing it as a team and it seems like you get more done together.”

Taylor was working on painting the living room. Downstairs, Bothell resident and project manager Long Tran and engineer Jake Tran were painting one of the kids’ rooms.

“I think this is great,” Long Tran said. “Sometimes we’re so busy. This is a great opportunity for us to contribute to the community.”

Outside, project manager Alka Puri was trimming back blackberry vines and other plants.

“I really respect what these people are doing, raising kids that are not their own and making sure they have everything they need,” Puri said of the Osborns.

At the rear of the house, portfolio manager Duke Hafferman and manager of User Acceptance Testing Mark Antone were removing an outdated satellite dish that weighed several hundred pounds.

“The thing that’s motivating me today is, I have children of my own,” Antone said. “I think about the before and after. The “after” would be such an ideal place for a 2-year-old to run around and explore nature and all of that.”

Friends of Youth marketing and communications manager Divya Kumar was at the home, painting alongside the volunteers. The Redmond-based nonprofit organization helped about 12,000 young people last year, with the help of volunteers who donated more than $100,000 worth of hours, Kumar said.

“Without volunteers, I think any nonprofit organization would not succeed,” she said.

For more information on Friends of Youth, visit Or, for more information on the United Way or Day of Caring, visit