Kristen Zuray and Tonya Guinn set up a table of coffee and doughnuts for the Trail Youth project, which officially came to Snoqualmie Valley on Tuesday. The group aims to help connect teens and young adults who are struggling, with resources that can help them. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Trail Youth group serves up doughnuts, coffee, and support, Tuesdays in North Bend

Trust isn’t established on a deadline, but with a specific group of young people in Issaquah and another in the Valley, it can be built on a foundation of doughnuts, hot coffee, and warm clothing.

“Hats and gloves, mostly,” said Kristen Zuray, the director of the Trail Youth organization that has been reaching out to troubled youth in the Valley for the past month or so. She was talking about a recent effort to provide North Bend-area teens who are struggling in some way, from family issues to drug addiction, by providing them with some warm clothing, along with always-popular doughnuts.

It’s the first step in getting these kids the help they need.

“We just start building relationships and we get them talking… we just gain their trust. Once that trust has been gained, they can open up to us about deeper issues.”

Once Zuray knows what the kids need, she can start connecting them to resources that can help with their problems, which is the ultimate goal of her work. Many of the youth she works with don’t know that help is available.

It’s already been happening, unofficially, for the last month, but the Trail Youth organization is officially operating in the Snoqualmie Valley as of Tuesday, which means doughnuts and coffee.

Each week, the group will try to connect with teens who they’ve already met on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, behind the North Bend Library, during the lunch break at Two Rivers School.

Two Rivers is the nearby alternative school that some of the youth attend, and Zuray hopes her location near it is the first of several sites her organization will serve.

“The more I’m networking in the community, the more I’m hearing of other places to go,” she said.

The Trail Youth is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, started three years ago by Zuray, her husband, and another couple, to address some of the problems they were seeing on the Rainier Trail in Issaquah.

“There were a lot of young adults, 19 or 20, some younger, just doing drugs right there on the trail… Prostitution was going on, too,” Zuray said “and we just had to do something… So, we just started bringing doughnuts.”

The youth were drawn to the sugary treats, but skeptical of why Zuray’s group was bringing them. No, they weren’t cops, she promised the kids, and no, the volunteers weren’t expecting anything in return. They just wanted to listen, if the kids wanted to talk.

“Pretty soon, they accept you, because they see that you’re not there to get anything from them, you’re not there to dictate to them. Eventually, they got to trust us,” Zuray said. “They started giving us nicknames. It was cold, so we started bringing hot coffees to them…. Word got out, and we were going from 15 to 20 kids, to having to serve 50 to 80.”

Over time, the group bonded over successes and failures. Zuray said every new job was celebrated, and every setback supported.

“One of our kids in Issaquah was stabbed,” Zuray recalled, so her group had someone visit him every day he was in the hospital. “It really broke down barriers with him, his parents,” Zuray said.

The young man was eventually convinced to try a drug rehabilitation program, “and all his friends came and waved him goodbye.”

Zuray decided to bring the operation to her home turf — she lives in Snoqualmie — after she attended the homeless youth forums being hosted by the Sallal Grange (there’s another one scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18 at the Sallal Grange Hall). She was referred to the Two Rivers School as a starting point and got approval from the principal to talk to the kids outside of school. She also has begun working with the Snoqualmie Police, specifically Kim Stonebraker, Snoqualmie Valley School District school resource officer.

“Kim and I have a great relationship, she’s become a team member,” said Zuray.

Stonebraker has been helping her to make contacts and to find potential locations for reaching out to the youth. It’s important to Zuray that they meet the kids where they hang out, because of what a girl in Issaquah said to her.

“She told me ‘you know what makes you so different from everybody else is you’re coming to us. You don’t expect us to come to you,’” Zuray said.

The Trail Youth welcomes volunteers and donations. Learn more at

Trail Youth volunteers Kristen Zuray and Tonya Guinn pose for a photo before they begin their outreach work with Valley kids. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

More in Life

From left: Captain Nick Almquist, Gini Ekoes, Heather Payne, and Chief Perry Phipps. Courtesy photo.
Sno-Valley Eagles Post #3529 host First Responders Appreciation Day

All proceeds went to support fallen Kent police officer’s family.

Group gathers 950 pounds of garbage along North Fork

Local community group cleans up garbage from popular camping and shooting spot.

Friends of the North Bend Library offer free books for Valley Reads series

All reigstrants will receive a copy of “The Middle Fork” by Brad Allen.

Carnation Farms hosts cooking class series with award-winning chef

Chef Caprial Pence leads cooking class series at Carnation Farms

Theater in the Park returns to Si View on July 29

Valley Center Stage will perform “The Bremen Town Black Cat Band” at Si View Community Park.

Snoqualmie casino announces new “free concert Fridays” series

Free outdoor concert series promises “high-energy, boot-stompin’ and sing-along fun.”

Eastside Fire & Rescue welcomes new Community Liaison Officer

The position was filled by Captain Steve Johnson when he began the assignment on July.

DirtFish hosts their first SummerFest community event

Hundreds came out to DirtFish headquarters in Snoqualmie for the first ever SummerFest event.

Public cooling locations open throughout the Snoqualmie Valley

Locations open in response to high weather forecasts through July

Salish Lodge & Spa expansion project public hearing scheduled

The hearing will be held at City of Snoqualmie Planning Commission meeting, July 16, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Lambert selected for national Women in Government Leadership Program

Annual program highlights elected women to mentor the next generation of women seeking public office

Encompass to bring back Kiddie Parade at Snoqualmie Railroad Days

Children’s therapy group Encompass will host the parade, which is open for any to join.