West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to the person who just sent a tip on this: Not in West Seattle, but not far, and someone local is making it happen – Seneca Nguyễn, a 10-year-old student from Louisa Boren STEM K-8, has organized a Kids vs Racism rally to show support for the Asian American Pacific Islander community, noon-1 pm at Hing Hay Park (423 Maynard Ave. S.). The event is featured in a long regional list of AAPI-supporting community resources and events published by the South Seattle Emerald.
From kids holding door-to-door neighborhood food drives, to businesses with donation barrels, to attendees at benefit galas, so many people in the community support the West Seattle Food Bank. Someone who has for years helped organize that support – and much more – is saying goodbye. Here’s the WSFB announcement:
The West Seattle Food Bank staff and board of directors congratulate Judi Yazzolino on her retirement on April 1st. Her passion and commitment for our community has been a catalyst in building strong community support for the West Seattle Food Bank.
A longtime West Seattle resident, Judi joined the WSFB in 2013 to share her expertise gained in a career in media sales and marketing. In her role as the food bank’s Development Director, Judi excelled in creating awareness of the West Seattle Food Bank’s mission and vision.
“I have been so excited and grateful to be able to share my knowledge with the WSFB and give back to my community for the last 8 years. It has been a joy,” Judi shares.
She became a key communicator for the food bank’s programs and the people we serve. Judi developed lasting relationships with our many donors and the business community. As a result of Judi’s fundraising, marketing and branding, the food bank raised its profile in the community achieving significant growth.
Judi’s accomplishments are broad and expansive. Her achievements are the result of the wonderful relationships she’s built and the gratitude she shows in return.
· Instruments of Change, A Grand Affair, and Taste of West Seattle rely on engagement for the cause to secure sponsorships for hosting, business owners to donate, media to spread the word, as well as donors to attend.
· Presence in community events relies on strong relationships with association leaders’ who are key to creating community awareness.
· Food drives are the result of communicating the realness of food insecurity in our community and building relationships with individuals, grocers, civic groups and small and large businesses to fight in the cause. Success relies on communicating and providing hosts and volunteers with critical information and materials to help them in their outreach.
You’ll still see Judi around West Seattle, patronizing her favorite retail & restaurants or walking her dog through the parks or neighborhoods. Judi will remain as a board member with the West Seattle Junction Association until they kick her off!
Judi’s retirement is bittersweet for the West Seattle Food Bank. We are sad to see her go but happy that she will be able to travel, ski and spend more time with her loved ones. The best to you always! In gratitude.
If you haven’t yet gotten your Girl Scout Cookies this year – you are almost out of time! This is the last week, local leaders point out. So one more reminder – you have three ways to buy cookies this year, as explained by the Girl Scouts of Western Washington website:
1. Cookie Connector – Free Delivery
Use our Cookie Connector tool to get FREE, contact-less delivery! Enter your zip code to get cookies delivered to your door by a local Girl Scout and their trusted adult.
2. Ask a Girl Scout – Delivery or Shipping
Support a Girl Scout in your life by buying cookies from them directly. Don’t know any Girl Scouts? Ask your personal or social media network – Girl Scouts are advertising their digital storefronts online.
3. Door Hangers – Delivery or Shipping
Local Girl Scouts are distributing physical order forms. Look for Girl Scout Cookie door hangers in your area and follow the instructions to place your order.
See the cookie varieties here.
We invited local Scouts/troops to share their direct links for cookie buyers – here’s who we heard from (each page has info on what the Scouts plan to do with their earnings, as well as a chance to buy cookies to donate if you don’t want them for yourself):
Troop 41169, raising money to paint a mural in The Junction – here’s their link
Troop 41169 member Akemi‘s link
Troop 44448 member Ava‘s link
Brownie troop 41534’s link
Troop 41534 member Sylvie‘s link
Troop 41843 member Asa’s link
Troop 43136 member the link for Olivia‘s link
Troop 43151 member Emma‘s link
From the WSB inbox:
TO: Jake, Alex & their German Shepherd Guardian – REWARD*
These are the stellar people who took the time to hear my pleas for someone with jumper cables to help, so I could drive what turned out to be my battery-dead car to an appointment 9 minutes away, with only 20 minutes to spare!
After Jake ran 3 blocks to drive his car to Alaska Junction, and had tried two different methods to give my car a jump, we realized it was useless. With polite caution, he said, “I don’t know how you would feel agreeing, but I am willing to drive you.”
Without hesitation, and a good deal of relief, I eagerly nodded yes, and off we went. I arrived at the vaccination tent on Thistle on the dot of my assigned time. Double YES!
So to JAKE, ALEX and their COMPANION, t h a n k y o u , for stopping and offering me a hand. I got a free Lyft home, thanks to the county; and my car will be running for my follow-up vaccination, March 18th!
A Very Grateful Neighbor,
* PS – I have called Husky Deli and arranged a $20 credit for the two humans of your party to go get grilled sandwiches there. I am partial to their veggie option, with yellow mustard & sauerkraut; but you can use the credit for anything from savory to chocolate or homemade ice cream! ; > DO BRING YOUR DOG with, and identify yourselves as THE GOOD SAMARITANS who helped Janette Brown!
Just a few days left to get your nomination(s) in for this year’s Westside Awards, presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. Here’s the original announcement, explaining this year’s focus:
Every year in the Spring, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce gathers to celebrate four categories of businesses, individuals and non-profits that have made notable contributions to the West Seattle business community.
This Spring, the Chamber recognizes that 2020 was an incredibly difficult time for businesses and individuals alike. For that reason, we are changing our annual Westside Awards business-nomination process to honor stories of hope and perseverance in 2020!
At a time when individuals may not have the job, home, or food security they deserve, and when businesses have been forced – through legislation or circumstance – to close doors, there are uplifting stories of those who soldiered on, to help others and to help support their West Seattle community.
Businesses and individuals are thinking outside the box, tightening their belts, and acknowledging that now is not the time for “business as usual.” These businesses and individuals deserve our recognition.
If you know of a business, non-profit, or individual that deserves recognition for personal or business actions taken in 2020, please let us know by filling out a nomination form. Click this link to take you to the form site.
Monday (March 15) is the nomination deadline. Last year’s winners are listed here.
Along with direct action to save endangered orcas, education is key. A West Seattle resident who specializes in that – as well as research – has just been honored with a statewide award. Jeff Hogan of Killer Whale Tales has received the Outreach Award from the Washington chapter of The Wildlife Society. From the organization’s announcement, prepared for an upcoming edition of its newsletter:
Since 2000, Jeff Hogan has dedicated himself to Killer Whale Tales. Jeff had an idea that would pull together his Orca research experience with theatrical storytelling, science, and childhood education. His decision to put everything on the line to start a nonprofit is indicative of just how committed he is to ensure that the next generation understands the way consumer behaviors impact the environment, and also that science is cool!
For the first 10 years of the program’s existence, Jeff ran the program, creating and updating the program materials, delivering the program, fundraising, analyzing data, accounting, marketing, and scheduling almost entirely by himself. More recently, as the program has evolved to include more-robust data reporting and communications, Jeff has been able to rely on board members to help with some of the back-end functions, but the program materials, delivery, relationship building with teachers / researchers / major funders / other similar organizations still falls mainly on Jeff’s shoulders.
He has brought engaging environmental education to 125,000 elementary school students throughout the West Coast and Canada, and over 60,000 students have completed and returned “Kids Making a Difference Now” conservation worksheets, meaning they have taken action at home to reduce their family’s environmental footprint and help the whales. Jeff has continuously been the driving force in this nonprofit and has sacrificed personally to keep it going.
Jeff has some kind of a magical presence that inspires everyone he meets to take interest in the Southern Resident killer whales, science, and/or the environment. It is truly a remarkable talent that very few others possess. Killer Whale Tales have now converted over to online learning due to the pandemic and as odd as it may sound, it has opened up a whole new set of opportunities. Jeff is now working with children and families across the globe – from India, to the UK, and up and down the eastern seaboard of the U.S., he has “pods” of young future scientists sprouting up all across the planet!
Jeff also is a researcher. He co-authored recently published research showing that vessel noise interrupts Southern Resident Killer Whales’ feeding, especially females. Vessel noise is a major focus for advocates trying to increase the chances of saving the endangered orcas from extinction.
P.S. Killer Whale Tales is a nonprofit; here’s how to support its work.
West Seattle’s Troop 284 had reason to celebrate this past Saturday. The photos and report are from Eric Linxweiler:
Troop 284 (founded 105 years ago, the oldest in the region) welcomed new Cub Scouts into Scouting BSA. This includes two new young ladies, who continue leading the way for women in scouting. All scouts entered in at the top rank of Cub Scouting as well (Arrow of Light).
Katie Miller (top right in photo above) served as their den leader for all five years they were at Pack 284. We are very excited to continue to prepare our scouts and eager to get outside for fun again.
The photos are in small groups, Eric explains, because they had the new members and their families arrive at staggered times for safe distancing.
The troop then had its regular meeting via conference call last night.
A big honor for a longtime member of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) faculty. Here’s the announcement:
Dr. Yilin Sun, who has spent the majority of her 30-plus year career teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at South Seattle College (SSC) and Seattle Central College, has been recognized as a top-30 contributor to the U.S. Department of State’s English Language Specialist Program. The specialist program is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021.
The “30@30 Award” recognizes Sun as one of a select group of thirty specialists who have made a lasting impact on the specialist program and on the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) field since 1991, building English-teaching capacity abroad and bolstering mutual understanding through English language education.
Sun is a tenured faculty member in the Basic and Transitional Studies Division at SSC, and now directs faculty development programs for the Seattle Colleges District. She has served the field of TESOL for more than 30 years and has been with Seattle Colleges for more than 27 years as a dedicated educator. She is a tireless advocate for racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education and for providing equitable, accessible, and quality education to underserved student populations. She also strives to empower learners and TESOL professionals.
Sun is a former president of the TESOL International Association from 2013 to 2016. This was the first time in TESOL’s 50-year history that an Asian, female, bilingual Chinese and English speaking professional served as president of TESOL.
“What makes Dr. Yilin Sun such a remarkable leader and role model is her ability to develop inclusive, equitable and diverse communities, and provide resources which foster critical thinking and creativity,” said Anne Levin, ESL faculty member at Seattle Colleges. “When in her presence, students and colleagues feel welcome and inspired to be their very best selves. Her advocacy for immigrants and refugees, collaborative spirit and enthusiasm for teaching and learning is heartfelt and contagious to all who have the honor of working with her.”
The 30@30 awardees will be honored throughout the anniversary year with featured stories on the English Language Programs website, in presentations at the Virtual 2021 TESOL International Convention, as expert panelists in online webinars, and at an Appreciation Luncheon and Awards Ceremony in October at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., conditions allowing.
(Photo courtesy Dr. Yilin Sun, shown speaking to the 2015 TESOL International Convention in Toronto.)
Today’s donation drive – for food and other essentials – at Alki UCC wasn’t even over yet, when volunteers took that photo of a roomful of what they’d received! The church’s outreach and social justice leader Cinda Stenger calls it “magical and wonderful … an unprecedented response,” more than any of their previous one-day drives. She adds, “Alki UCC thanks our wonderful neighbors for being so caring. We provide mutual aid with the Westside Interfaith Network, partner with the WS Clothesline, and enjoy being a conduit for West Seattle people to give to others in an easy and accessible way. We really appreciate your support … Together we are all doing good in the world!”
Proud mom Diana Piggee tells the story of a Junction incident just before 10 pm tonight:
My two daughters were on their way home when they saw someone banging from the inside of the post office. They stopped and one of my daughter’s ran to the door. The post-office worker had locked herself inside. The police then pulled up behind my other daughter who was driving and were questioning her since she abruptly stopped in the center lane and put her hazard lights. She then let the two police officers know that the postal worker was locked inside. My two daughters were allowed to leave and came told me the story.
My daughter Kaela Piggee was the one driving and noticed her pounding. My other daughter Daeja Piggee ran to her to assist.
Kaela works at Seattle Fish Company across the street, although she wasn’t working tonight. She knows the area pretty well.
I just thought they were some heroes and Kaela was paying attention to her surroundings.
Just yesterday, we were bemoaning a shortage of stories about people doing positive/interesting things. Though most news is inherently bad news, we usually have more stories of helping, gratitude, etc., to break it up, but right now we seem to be experiencing a shortage. So when Krystal Kelley‘s video landed in the WSB inbox late last night, it seemed fortuitous. That, in fact, is what her video’s about – a small action to try to chase off dome of the negativity that’s already spilled into the two-weeks-old new year. Krystal – who has been a small-business owner herself – visited some local businesses with a “Surprise Smudge.” She explains, “Smudging is traditionally a ceremony for purifying or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place.” 2021 is off to a shaky start, so anything might help.
P.S. Krystal adds, “If you are out and about today, we will be playing meditative music in Lincoln Park down by the water from 1-2 or 3 … depends how long we stay warm. We started a band called Krystal Kelley and the Woo-Woo’s. We play soft, gentle music intended to heal.” She also says, “I want to declare 4/20/21 World Smudge Day to help with the healing of Mother Earth.”
Before 2020 is too much further back in the rear-view mirror, the West Seattle Food Bank is sharing these words of thanks:
We want to take a moment to celebrate you and all our neighbors who have supported us throughout 2020. Through your time, helpful words and actions, and donations, you have shown that the West Seattle community is here for one another.
While this past year has been one of the most challenging in our history, we have seen so many neighbors work together to find thoughtful and creative ways to get food and financial assistance into the community.
You have brought us so much joy this year and helped us stay hopeful through all the ups and downs. In 2020, over 3,000 neighbors gave their first-ever gift to the West Seattle Food Bank, joining our resilient network of supporters. We missed many longtime volunteers who were kept away by COVID-19 but have been fortunate enough to have roughly 240 new volunteers step in during this time. Nearly three times as many people donated in lieu of presents for birthdays or other holidays. We received gifts from as far as Germany and as close as the apartments upstairs, reminding us that our West Seattle community is more than a geographic location.
Together in 2020 we have:
-Expanded our Home Delivery program from 100 deliveries per week to 400 deliveries per week
-Increased our financial assistance program for rent and utilities by 200%
-Adapted our food distribution to an outdoor shopping model so neighbors can choose the groceries they need while staying safe and distanced
-Adjusted our Clothesline hours so neighbors have more flexibility to shop
-And, most importantly, helped our neighbors stay safe, fed, housed, and healthy.
As the late Mr. Rogers once shared, when looking to find comfort in scary times, his mother told him to “look for the helpers. You can always find people who are helping.” This past year has shown that West Seattle is a community of helpers. Seeing this commitment to helping others warms our hearts and bolsters our spirits as the work continues. We are grateful every day to be part of such a strong and caring community. Thank you all for your dedication to supporting your neighbors!
If you’re able to continue helping … or if you need help … all the info’s on the WSFB website.
The Diversity Center of Washington has moved to West Seattle. We got the announcement from its founder and CEO, Jean Craciun. “We are activists for change,” Craciun explains. “Our focus has shifted to corporate Seattle,” a reason for moving north from Burien. The nonprofit’s work has included events meant “to highlight marginalized community members and advocate for action” – among them “10 Chefs and Causes” and the “1st annual Humanitarian Awards: They did something!” The center’s everyday work, Craciun says, is with “organizations & institutions that are seeking authentic change. Groups who truly desire change and want a more DEI (diversity equity inclusion) workplace.” (In the photo above, that’s Craciun at left, outside The Diversity Center’s Morgan Junction HQ, with musician Chamel Simmons; the decorations are by Shileah Corey from Ballyhoo Theatre.)
Thanks to Susan Weir for the photos and report from atop Genesee Hill:
You’re never too old to clown around! That’s the motto of Patricia (Pat) Nelson, age 93, and Elaine Katz, age 68. If you’re out in the sunshine and happen to be driving by the intersection of Genesee and 55th Ave. SW, you may see these ladies waving, smiling, and putting smiles on the faces of those who drive by. Pat and Elaine routinely clown around on this corner. Please smile, honk, and wave back!
Tonight and every night for the rest of this week, temperatures are expected to drop into the 30s. If you know someone – or see someone – who needs a place to get in out of the cold, the West Seattle Veteran Center has opened its doors. From Keith Hughes:
The West Seattle Veteran Center Cold Weather Shelter opened this evening and will remain open at least through Friday night. The Center is open to all that need a warm place to sleep, veteran or not. It is beautiful with the newly painted walls and newly refinished maple hardwood floors.
The center is in The Triangle at 3618 SW Alaska (here’s a map).
The photos and report are from Karen Vegors:
I wanted to share with you what some scouts from Troop 284 have been up to this month. The nuclear Narwhal Patrol has spent the last three weeks designing, building, and decorating a Little Free Toy Chest for the neighborhood kids. It started with a discussion about the Little Free Libraries and how there should be some thing for little kids who are stuck at home with school out. The kids found an old hutch and ups cycled it by adding legs and painting it. Today they put on the finishing touches and moved it out to the sidewalk. Then they filled it with toys and treats that they donated!
I’m super proud of these boys for thinking of this and putting in so much time and effort! The toy chest is located on 18th Ave SW between Trenton and Cloverdale.
That photo is the inspiration for the newest signal-box portrait painted by West Seattle artist Desmond Hansen – this time, commissioned as a surprise for the couple in the photo.
That’s Sue Turner, retired Sanislo Elementary School PE teacher, who worked at the school for more than 30 years. She “touched a lot of lives,” according to the group of Sanislo alumni who gathered Saturday morning to surprise her with the box, which is on 16th SW just north of SW Holden, just half a mile from Sanislo:
The portrait depicts Sue with her husband Bud Turner (who was not well enough to be there Saturday). He is a retired educator too and led the Seattle Public Schools PE department until the early 2000s. Together the Turners founded SCATS, a legendary program described this way by The Seattle Times in 2002:
… a child acrobatic team featuring the most skilled tumblers, jump-ropers, unicyclists, jugglers, and handwalkers at Seattle’s Sanislo and Dearborn Park elementary schools. You may have seen them at Sonics and Husky halftimes. Little kids juggling toilet plungers, zooming on unicycles tall as basketball backboards, leapfrogging through each other’s legs (upside-down) while jumping double-Dutch rope.
The Turners’ influence spread beyond Seattle, too – they wrote six well-regarded books for PE teachers.
Seattle musician and School of Rock West Seattle teacher Payge Turner wowed the coaches during her blind auditions on season 19 of NBC’s The Voice and joined Team Gwen! Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Payge has lived and performed in the Seattle area for a few years and teaches part-time at The School of Rock in West Seattle. An electric performer, Payge sings and plays keyboards and guitar. She is known for her emotion-filled vocals and her passionate approach to singing and teaching.
Still an independent artist, Payge’s music can be found on Spotify, YouTube and other outlets. Visit her website at www.paygeturnermusic.com for more information.
:”The Voice” is a musical-competition show that airs on NBC Monday and Tuesday nights. Here’s how it works.
Looking for some good news? Despite the COVID-19 economic crunch, generosity is running rampant. We have an update on Arbor Heights-based Cub Scout Pack 799‘s recent Scouting for Food door-to-door drive, courtesy of parent Jason T.:
Please let everyone in West Seattle know that Pack 799 has concluded its food drive, including returning for any initially missed pickups as we were notified.
We are sincerely grateful for the broad support we experienced in performing our service activity, and look forward to sustaining and improving the health of West Seattle in our own small way in the future. According to Karla and all the extremely helpful folks at the West Seattle Food Bank, Pack 799 was able to facilitate the collection of 3,221 pounds of food and household goods — nearly three times the amounts we’ve collected in past drives!
It is really heartwarming to have that level of community support, which gives solid encouragement to our young Scouts who chose to serve their communities in the midst of all the challenges, through a little adaptation and innovation.
Today is the 32nd annual National Coming Out Day – and the Human Rights Campaign is marking it with a nationwide campaign including the video you see above. One of your West Seattle neighbors, Gay Gabrilska, is among the people you see and hear in it. She emailed about it, saying, “Now more than ever, it is important for the lgbtq community to be seen and heard.” We asked how she got involved with the video; she said the co-producer, Alex Costello, is the daughter of a longtime friend, and has done other HRC work she admires and supports. “She reached out last Wednesday so it was a quick turnaround. Luckily my pals Wendy, Sydney, and Mike were able to help. It re-energized me to see so many wonderful lgbtq people in the video and reminded me that doing good is really what it’s all about.”
West Seattleite Stephanie Gerding was in for the fight of her life after two strokes in the middle of the night sent her to the hospital.
While there, she says in this online profile, she wondered if her life was about to end, too soon – until her husband put a photo of their 10-year-old daughter at her bedside. “That was the moment I knew not fighting for my life, not being there as her mom, was not an option. This was not the end for me.”
That was three years ago. But stroke recovery is not the same as simply getting over an illness: “I wish doctors told us recovery is a lifelong journey so we would have a more inclusive and optimistic outlook.” Nonetheless, she sets goals – and one of those was to be in the Puget Sound Heart and Stroke Walk, raising money for the American Heart Association. Last year was her first one. This year, it’s happening virtually, culminating this Saturday, and she’s participating again. Her husband Patrick Gerding wanted us to know, describing his wife as “a local hero.” You can support her, or participate yourself. As Stephanie describes it, it’s a matter of investing “in hope for a future with fewer strokes.”
P.S. Knowing the symptoms of stroke can save your life or that of someone you love.
The pandemic-fueled economic crunch means too many are struggling to keep themselves and their families fed. Along with the organizations that fight hunger year-round, other community helpers are doing what they can – like the West Seattle Eagles, who have been receiving periodic deliveries of food to distribute. They’re doing it again tomorrow (Wednesday, October 7th), starting shortly after noon, which is when the distribution truck is scheduled to arrive. Coordinator Doris Goulet says, “The combo boxes will each have dairy, meat, fruit and veggies.” You can drive/ride/walk into the Eagles’ lot at 4426 California SW. (And if you don’t need food but are interested in helping by volunteering or donating, you can email Doris at topstamp (at) msn (dot) com.)
P.S. We also routinely mention distributions and donation drives in our nightly pandemic-news roundups, so check those out if you are looking for ways to help and/or get help.