West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to everyone who helped out with this year’s Pencil Me In For Kids school-supply drive! Tonight, a report on its community-powered success:
As school started, Pencil Me In For Kids (PMIFK) swung into action. Members of the Rotary Club of West Seattle delivered boxes and boxes of pencils, markers, colored pencils and other basic supplies to six West Seattle elementary schools this week.
Monies for the purchase of the materials came from numerous sources including the Rotary Club of West Seattle. Individuals made donations via Fauntleroy Church and Illusions Hair Design.
Staples of Westwood Village accepted donations of items at their store for the last several months and offered at cost prices to PMIFK. This allowed PMIFK to purchase items valued at almost $10,000 for less than $4,000. Staples has been an active partner for several years.
PMIFK was started in 1994 by Sue Lindblom of Illusions Hair Design. The founding concept was that grade school is the time to build self-esteem and that it’s important to fit. Hence the organization provides supplies for at-need children. Learn more about PMIFK here.
From the Rotary Club of West Seattle:
Another Rotary Year Passes:
The West Seattle Rotary just had its New Year’s (July 1) change of Leadership. We would like to welcome our new President Dawn Schaper, who is also the Executive Director of Brookdale Admiral Heights.
This has been a busy year for outgoing President Dave Nichols; with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he took the weekly club meetings online in Zoom. As a club, we raised and donated almost $10,000 to three of our local nonprofits – West Seattle Food Bank, Senior Center of West Seattle, and WestSide Baby, who are supporting our community in this time of need. If you would like to help us, you may donate here.
One of the annual events presented by the Rotary, the West Seattle Grand Parade, is among the summer events that have to skip this year.
From Rotary Club of West Seattle president Dave Nichols:
Wonder what happened to the Rotary Club of West Seattle? We’re still here, just functioning in a virtual world, like many of you. Back around the 1st of March, working with leadership, we decided to cancel our meetings for a couple of weeks, and now we have moved to a Zoom Meeting platform.
But because we are not around doesn’t mean we aren’t trying to support the community we live in. With all the people out of work, we realized the West Seattle Food Bank was going to be feeding many more people than normal, I asked the Rotary District for a $500 grant for the West Seattle Food Bank, and then I challenged our club to give what they could to help keep the WS Food Bank working. So far as individual Rotarians we have given $1.500 more to the Food Bank. As the weeks go on, we are scouring our budget to try to help other Non-Profits serving the community. Be safe, help others, and thank you to a great community.
As noted here previously, money is what the WSFB – and other nonprofits – need now most of all, not jut because of the increased need; the pandemic-driven event cancellations are happening at a time of year when many nonprofits hold their biggest annual fundraisers.
They were making a list and checking it twice as honorary Santa helpers very early this morning – the Rotary Club of West Seattle and hundreds of volunteers, teaming up for the Rotary’s annual Children’s Shopping Spree.
It meant a very, very early start to the day for all involved, but smiles prevailed – here’s West Seattle Rotary president Dave Nichols:
The Rotarians and volunteers converge on Sears-Southcenter (the nearest one since the SODO closure five years ago) to await the arrival of kids from local schools chosen as this year’s recipients:
This year, five schools had students participating – Gatewood, Lafayette, Roxhill, and West Seattle Elementaries, and Pathfinder K-8.
The kids were accompanied by grownups to go shop for practical items like shoes.
But there’s always some fun too, and food:
This is one of the biggest projects every year for the West Seattle Rotary, which has been sponsoring the Children’s Shopping Spree for almost half a century!
One of the ways in which the Rotary Club of West Seattle serves the community is by offering college-scholarship money. It’s application time for one of their programs – here’s the announcement:
Scholarship opportunity – The Rotary Club of West Seattle Service Foundation offers the Vern Gambriell Scholarship, an annual award totaling about $6,000, to one or more students in order to make it possible for students to pursue a post-secondary educational program at an accredited institution.
The specific desire of this West Seattle donor (Vern Gambriell) is that assistance is provided to students who would not otherwise be able to attend college and that preference will be given to residents of West Seattle. Therefore, this scholarship is awarded based on financial need and academic merit. Funds may be used for tuition and fees and is sent directly from the Scholarship Fund to the school once the information from the student is provided.
Application Deadline – May 17. Click here for more information.
After the SODO Sears closed almost five years ago, the Rotary moved the event to Southcenter, where buses brought about 100 students from five West Seattle schools starting just before 7 am – Highland Park, Arbor Heights, Sanislo, and West Seattle Elementaries, and Louisa Boren STEM K-8.
Each arriving group got an ovation from the nearly 200 Rotarians and other volunteers who started their Saturday pre-dawn to provide the kids a holiday event to remember.
First school arrival at West Seattle Rotary Shopping Spree – big cheers for Highland Park Elementary! pic.twitter.com/TXiTas1xpc
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 1, 2018
The kids get to shop for practical presents like coats and shoes:
They received fun gifts too – Rotarians donated small toys for goodie bags, for example. And a hearty breakfast is always part of the “spree”:
The West Seattle Rotary has been doing this for more than 45 years. Every year, volunteers from other organizations help make it happen, from student groups to community fraternities and sororities:
Lots of logistics involved – this year’s Rotary ringleader was Gary Potter of Potter Construction (WSB sponsor):
The Shopping Spree is one of several community projects every year for the club, which has lunch meetings every Tuesday and welcomes visitors.
A high-profile guest at today’s Rotary Club of West Seattle meeting – state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. And the club has another big event coming up. First, today’s visit:
Ferguson is a North Seattle resident who has been the state’s elected Attorney General since 2012 (here’s his bio). He told the West Seattle Rotarians that he had set a goal of visiting every Rotary Club in the state – more than 180 – and he has only about 40 to go. He spoke briefly and then answered questions. We recorded video:
Toplines: His office has 600+ lawyers, more than 100 of whom work on behalf of children – a major responsibility for the AG’s office. The office handles 20,000+ consumer complaints every year, many involving charity fraud. He shared anecdotes, including the story of prosecuting scammers who had bilked small businesses out of a fake $125 “fee.” The consumer-protection division pays for itself, he added, from proceeds of judgments.
Ferguson also mentioned having filed 32 lawsuits against the Trump Administration and winning 15 of them so far, 9 of which are no longer appealable, with the other 6 still in the appeal process. The lawsuit subjects range from DREAMers to “3D printed” plastic guns. Some ask him why he’s filing so many suits against the administration; Ferguson said he contends, the better question is, why does the administration so often flout the law?
First question: Who pays for those lawsuits?
Announced Tuesday night by the Rotary Club of West Seattle:
The Rotary Club of West Seattle awarded $19,200 in scholarships to six West Seattle students on June 5th. The monies came from two scholarship funds: Student of the Year and Gambriell.
The Student of the Year scholarship is available to students who have been Students of the Month in the immediately preceding academic year.
Students of the Month is a program which honors outstanding students in West Seattle high-school programs. Each month of the academic year, all five participating school programs name a student who is worthy of recognition.
Those students, along with a school counselor, family members, and others important in the student’s life, are invited to be guests at the noon luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of West Seattle held on the second Tuesday of the month at the Alki Masonic Center.
At that meeting, each student gives a short talk about his or her accomplishments and aspirations and receives a packet of information and gifts from the club. Students of the Month are encouraged to apply for Student of the Year scholarships.
The high-school programs responsible for the selection of the students are Chief Sealth International High School, Career Link/Alternative High Schools, Seattle Lutheran High School, West Seattle High School and Southwest Youth and Family Services.
Students of the Year for 2018 are Maria DiFores from Career Link, Emily Mills also from Career Link, Daniela Hernandez from Seattle Lutheran, and Garbriella Rackner.
The Gambriell Scholarship can be awarded to any student in Seattle, but preference is given to those who reside in West Seattle and those who would not be able to attend college or further their education without the scholarship. Variable amounts are awarded each year, depending on how many students apply.
Gambriell Scholarship recipients for 2018 are Marcus Evans from Chief Sealth, Emily Mills from Career Link and Suscha Walker, second-year student at the University of Washington.
On Saturday, you’re invited to join the Rotary Club of West Seattle in a celebration that will cap the club’s 70th-anniversary festivities, a pop-up celebration of wine:
The Rotary Club of West Seattle will hold the culminating event of its 70th Anniversary Year Saturday, May 19th, at the Alki Masonic Center (4736 40th Ave SW) from 4 – 6:30 pm.
You’re invited for:
Wine tastings from local wineries.
Heavy appetizers served.
Wine & wine-related items for auction and for sale.
West Seattle Rotarians free admission; Guests $10 donation
WS Rotary 70th Anniversary Commemorative glasses will be given to the first 100 guests. Included in the auction/raffle are the following:
3L 2015 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon, etched and signed by winemaker and Drew Bledsoe (retail value w/o signatures: $540)
3L 2014 Fidelitas Cabernet Sauvignon, signed by owner/winemaker Charlie Hoppes
Wineries participating include Icy Road Vineyards, Bledsoe and DoubleBack Wineries (Walla Walla), Fidelitas Wines (Woodinville), and West Seattle’s Viscon Cellars.
The event will be an opportunity to taste numerous excellent Washington wines and to learn about the Rotary Club of West Seattle.
The celebrating began at a lunch last fall – here’s our coverage.
Thanks to Martha Sidlo from the Rotary Club of West Seattle for the photos and report:
This morning, several West Seattle Rotarians held a landscaping cleanup at the Rotary totem pole park on 35th Avenue SW, next to the golf course. [Read the park and pole’s history here.]
Seattle Parks and Recreation helped by providing tools and wood chips for the project.
The Rotary Club of West Seattle is pleased to announce the selection of two West Seattle students to receive scholarships to attend Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (“RYLA”) from March 15-18,2018 at Pacific Lutheran University.
The scholarship recipients are:
Konrad Gerhardt, son of Roxanne and Jon Gerhardt of West Seattle, is a sophomore at O’Dea High School, where he is the House Captain of Limerick Sophomore House and a member of the O’Dea Lacrosse team. Konrad is also an Adventure Scout and completed the high adventure trek at Philmont Scout Ranch last summer.
Zach Carver, son of Lars and Allison Carver of West Seattle, is a sophomore at Seattle Lutheran High School, where he is Sophomore Class Vice President and was honored as the 2nd Team All-League selection in football as a running back. Zach loves creative writing and making music.
RYLA is an intensive leadership training program for sophomore and junior students selected by their Rotary Clubs from Rotary Districts 5020 and 5030, encompassing the metropolitan Seattle area, Pierce County, Vancouver Island, and the Olympic Peninsula. We congratulate our scholarship recipients.
Still think Santa Claus just shows up in the middle of the night? On this day every year – the first Saturday in December – hundreds of Santas rise very early, not to drop off gifts and fly away, but to escort local kids through a wonderland of dining and shopping, during the Rotary Club of West Seattle-organized Children’s Shopping Spree.
Southcenter Mall was the location again this year, since it has the nearest Sears, fourth Shopping Spree since the old location in SODO closed. Organizers and volunteers gathered long before dawn, getting their instructions from Rotarian Josh Sutton:
They cheered for each group of kids arriving on school buses from West Seattle:
More arrivals! The kids get a fun morning plus practical presents – new coats, shoes, etc. pic.twitter.com/CFPEYlNuV3
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 2, 2017
Pairs of volunteers are matched with kids:
And it’s off to breakfast:
Some shopping happens inside Sears.
Some, at tables stacked with socks and coats:
The gifts are bought via Rotary donations and fundraisers. And the time given by members and volunteers is priceless. Some of the groups represented this morning included Alpha Kappa Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, Kappa Alpha Psi, Zeta Phi Beta, Delta Upsilon Omega, Omega Delta Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, and UW Rotaract. Even Seattle Lutheran High School basketball players!
And as noted on the Rotary page featuring the history of the Shopping Spree – which goes back 45 years! – school administrators and counselors are a big part of the morning’s success too. Schools represented this year included Lafayette, Roxhill, Concord, Genesee Hill elementaries, and Pathfinder K-8.
By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
The Rotary Club of West Seattle‘s weekly meeting today wasn’t just a luncheon, it was a party – 70th-anniversary party, to be specific.
The club was chartered in November 1947.
One of the club’s most prominent members, King County Executive Dow Constantine – who’s on today’s ballot, running for a third term – read a proclamation declaring this “Rotary Club of West Seattle’s 70th Anniversary Day” in King County, and urged all in King County to thank the club for its seven decades of service:
The club currently meets at the Alki Masonic Center in The Junction, and according to the around-the-room introductions, today’s celebration drew guests including representatives of other Rotary Clubs around the area as well as former members.
Featured speaker was Clay Eals, a journalist, author, historian, community advocate, and more, who recently left as executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
If you are, or know, a 10th- or 11th-grader who’s interested in leadership in their school and community – here’s a chance for free training. The Rotary Club of West Seattle is accepting applications for the Rotary Youth Leadership Award, which covers the costs of an annual seminar March 16-19 at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, described as “taught by leadership experts and directed at teens in high school. Fully chaperoned, meals included. … Great addition to a college application.” For questions and/or an application, e-mail West Seattle Rotary president Dr. Susanne Gee at email@example.com.
Long before dawn, Christmas arrived early for almost 100 local kids, thanks to about 200 volunteer Santas turning the annual Rotary Club of West Seattle Children’s Shopping Spree from plan to reality:
Cheers and high-fives as the first kids, from Arbor Heights Elem, arrive for Rotary Shopping Spree pic.twitter.com/XZITUuAXwF
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 3, 2016
First to arrive, kids from Arbor Heights Elementary, a few minutes before 7 am. The Rotarians had just finished a rousing briefing for volunteers before the first bus pulled up at Southcenter, where the Shopping Spree had to move starting in 2014, after the SODO Sears shut down.
Kids from five schools are participating this year – along with AHES, they are from Highland Park, Sanislo, and West Seattle Elementaries, and Louisa Boren STEM K-8. Each one is paired with a volunteer to share breakfast – this year, at BJ’s Restaurant – before the “spree,” which focuses on practical items like coats and shoes.
As the first group settled down to breakfast, the second arrived, from WSES, also to raucous cheers:
Second group, from West Seattle Elementary. Spree moved to Southcenter in 2014 after SODO Sears shut down. pic.twitter.com/JQz7BbuRPl
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 3, 2016
They were followed by Sanislo, STEM, and Highland Park, the last group to be greeted, as the sky just outside the mall entrance brightened to gray. Volunteers and students got to know each other as they paired off and headed to breakfast. “What grade are you in?” was the icebreaker question heard time and again.
Following breakfast, shopping time.
Here’s Arbor Heights principal Christy Collins helping supervise:
And just as that got going, we had a Santa Claus sighting:
Santa arrives at West Seattle Rotary Shopping Spree. pic.twitter.com/aqBULBk5w0
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 3, 2016
A chat and pic with St. Nick is part of the plan too:
West Seattle Rotary raises money for this each year through a variety of events including a benefit breakfast featuring a guest speaker (this year, weather analyst Cliff Mass). And the volunteer help, from within the club ranks as well as other groups around the region, is priceless. The groups/businesses participating today included:
The Shopping Spree continues on into the morning, with Santa visits and more, and memories that will last a long time – for the adults as well as the kids who are going home with much-needed gifts.
The Rotary Club of West Seattle drew about 200 people to its annual fundraising breakfast this morning at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). This year’s keynote speaker is well-known to weather-watchers in particular: Cliff Mass, described on the program as “University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and renowned Seattle weather prognosticator/personality.” We photographed him with incoming West Seattle Rotary president Dr. Susanne Gee:
Mass has often said he’s not a forecaster, but more of an analyst. And as those at today’s event heard, he’s outspoken on a variety of related topics, including no love lost for some news media’s tendency to engage in hyperbole related to weather events. He also talked about what he sees for the Pacific Northwest in terms of climate change – including more rain, less snow, between now and 2050, but no “dramatic” increase in temperature until later this century. You can find him online here.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
That speech today at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) brought him full circle, Bryant said, because he announced his Port Commission run at nearby Jack Block Park in 2006.
His run for governor, by contrast, was announced online. And here’s our video of what he told the Rotary Club today:
Bryant delivered more of a valedictory for his 8 years on the commission than a speech looking ahead to what he would hope to do as governor. He said he ran on a platform that eventually spanned four key points:
On this cold, wet night, about 100 West Seattle kids are keeping warm thanks to the Rotary Club of West Seattle‘s annual Holiday Shopping Spree. Local Rotarians and hundreds of volunteers take over Southcenter Sears before dawn to get the kids in for warm clothing including coats and shoes.
And there’s always fun along the way – including a round of high-fives:
The high-fives accompanied a loud round of cheers for each group of kids to arrive – see for yourself in our video!
Each child was accompanied by volunteers as they shopped for what they needed.
The young participants also got a meal and a visit with Santa Claus before they headed back this way – and smiles invariably result, for the volunteers as well as the kids:
West Seattle Rotarians have been doing this since 1972 – it’s the club’s signature event. The students participating this year were from Concord, Gatewood, Lafayette, Pathfinder, and Roxhill.
(WSB photo, December 2014)
Every year in early December, the Rotary Club of West Seattle brings holiday gifts and fun to about a hundred local students in need via its annual Children’s Shopping Spree. The rest of the year, the club has other events and donation drives to raise money for its charitable projects, including the spree. You’re invited to be part of a fall fundraiser that’s now just eight days away:
Saturday, October 24, 2015, the Rotary Club of West Seattle will host its 2nd annual Oktoberfest from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM at Alki Masonic Hall, 4736 40th Ave SW. Free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the hall.
The festivities will include German & local microbrew BEER, authentic German FOOD, an Oompah BAND, and a RAFFLE.
Net proceeds from the event will be used to support the Club’s charitable projects. Tickets are $45 and may be purchased (must be age 21 or older) on the Club’s website.
It’s one of the most fun nights of (almost-)fall for Rotary Club of West Seattle members … the back-to-school sorting party for Pencil Me In For Kids, their signature charity distributing donated school supplies to local students. As Rotarians and friends gathered Wednesday night in a Westwood backyard, they knew that every local elementary has kids getting a boost from PMIFK (that was noted at this week’s Rotary meeting). Member or not, you can help too, through PMIFK – here’s how.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The U.S. Navy‘s presence in the Northwest – and much of the rest of the world – is vital, on a planet where 80 percent of all people live close to oceans or other waterways, and 90 percent of the world’s trade goes by water.
That’s what Rear Admiral Jeff Ruth, commander of Navy Region Northwest, told the Rotary Club of West Seattle this afternoon, as guest speaker at their weekly lunch. This region, in particular, he noted, is reliant on those trade routes, and in turn on the security provided by the Navy.
The turnout filled the lower meeting room at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). The admiral’s resume – detailed here – includes two years commanding the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. And his speech was far more global than local.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
School’s out – and some are looking ahead to the next stage of their education, like the seven students to whom the Rotary Club of West Seattle awarded scholarships today – Student of the Month and Gambriell scholarships totaling $15,500. We stopped by the Rotary lunch meeting to photograph the students who were there to accept them – from left, Julia Nark (Career Link), Tin Vo (West Seattle High School), Caprice Villeza (West Seattle HS), Naeem Ghodsian (Career Link), and Joey Werlech (now a Central Washington University student); recipients not pictured are Brisa Mendez-Alvarez (Chief Sealth International High School) and Carolina Sayuri Sasai (Seattle Lutheran). The club explains, “The Students of the Month program honors outstanding students in West Seattle (area) high-school programs selected by their school counselors. Each year all Students of the Month are encouraged to apply for the available scholarships. Also every year, the club awards two or three Gambriell Scholarships based on financial need and academic merit to graduating West Seattle-area seniors who apply and might not otherwise be able to attend college.”
A Rotarian with extra reason to smile about all this is Len Burton-Hardin:
Starting next month, he’ll be in charge of the club’s vocational/educational outreach.
P.S. The next big West Seattle Rotary-sponsored event, the WS Grand Parade, is now just one month away – Saturday, July 18th!
The Rotary Club of West Seattle was up extra-early today for a special occasion – a breakfast event at Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor). At right above is Jim Edwards, honored by the Rotary with the Paul Harris Fellow award, named after Rotary’s founder. Jim’s long history of community service includes coordinating the West Seattle Grand Parade, which is now presented by the Rotary. He accepted the award with his daughter Michelle Edwards, who works with him on the parade, as does Dave Vague, at left, honored by the Rotary last year. (One of the other things for which you might know Jim right now is the West Seattle Big Band, which donates its earnings to student programs.) This year’s parade, by the way, is coming up fast – Saturday, July 18th, from The Admiral District to The Junction as always.
Rotarians also heard from King County Executive Dow Constantine this morning:
The centerpiece of his talk was his new initiative, Best Starts for Kids, announced in his recent State of the County address as a plan to “provide the resources needed to prevent negative outcomes in the community and put every child on a path toward lifelong success.” Its components include mental-health and developmental screenings and a host of other services aimed at the notion that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Voters will be asked to approve a levy to fund it. Early childhood is a subject not only important to Constantine as a leader but also as a parent, and he noted that daughter Sabrina is about to turn 1.