Food for Thought: Time to Reassess Food Banks

Alison Pence, director of Food Bank @ St. Mary’s, hears from teen health centers that some students at Franklin High School are regularly sent to the nurse’s office with upset stomachs. But food poisoning is not the problem.

These students are oftentimes homeless, and they suffer from hunger pains, caused by poor nutrition and missed meals, said Pence.

“We barely reach those homeless kids in the schools,” said Pence. “There’s no funding to get the specialized, nutritious food for growing children.”

This is the kind of situation Seattle’s food banks try to address, but getting food into the hands of the city’s hungriest isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

To view the FULL article on the South Seattle Emerald, click here.

To view the interactive data visualization on Tableau, click here.




You Grow Girl Founder Cultivates Young Female Empowerment

After school one recent afternoon, a young girl made her usual visit to You Grow Girl!, a non-profit organization that encourages her to express herself and talk through her problems.

As she talked to her mentor, she revealed her desire to play the flute, however, there was one problem: her parents lacked the funds to afford the instrument. Did this mean her dream was cut short? Not if Lynn Coleman could help it.

To view the FULL article on the South Seattle Emerald, click here.

Three steps toward success: AAPI women discuss entrepreneurship

Asian-American Pacific Islander women gave out insightful advice for female entrepreneurs at the first Celebrate Asia Pacific Entrepreneurs panel on March 30.

The panel, called “(Her)story: Conversations with Entrepreneurial AAPI Women,” included Lorraine Yu, founder and president of Sirius 6 Corporation, Susie Lee, chief executive officer and co-founder of Siren, Maureen Francisco, co-executive producer of NW Productions and Mina Yoo, founder of Lulabop Inc.

Prior to entrepreneurship, these women worked in different careers. Yu’s industry involved computer-science and chemistry, Lee’s involved biophysics and art, Francisco’s involved media and entertainment and Yoo’s involved academia.

The CAPE project is a four-month-long enterprise run by Hing Hay Coworks with the goal of showcasing the stories of creative entrepreneurs with deep ties to the region’s Asia Pacific Rim community.

To view the FULL article on the International Examiner, click here.

(Page 4 of the April 20th issue).

5 ways to fix public safety in the International District

Most of Seattle’s newly elected city council members will be resting on their laurels until they take office in January. But not Lorena Gonzalez.

After handily winning the race for citywide Council Position Nine — the seat vacated when Sally Clark resigned in April — Gonzalez will be sworn in today at 5p.m. to replace temporary Council Member John Okamoto.

It couldn’t come soon enough for some in the Chinatown-International District (C-ID), who have been waiting for answers on public safety issues facing their neighborhood and are looking to the new council to make changes.

To view the FULL article on The Seattle Globalist, click here.

Chinatown-International District Block Watch walks streets for safety

The shooting death of community leader Donnie Chin brought high-profile city-wide attention to the issue of public safety in Chinatown-International District. But to the volunteers of the C-ID Neighborhood Block Watch, safety there has been a long on going concern.

The program, which has been revitalized since last November,  is encouraging people to join its weekly safety walk against crime.

To view the FULL article on The Seattle Globalist, click here.

Hall Health West Providing Services to UW Students

By SIDNEY SULLIVAN   June 2, 2015

Hall Health West is located on the corner of 40th Street and Brooklyn Avenue Northeast within Alder Commons. It is a satellite to Hall Heath Center located on North Campus. (Photo by Sidney Sullivan)

Hall Health West is located on the corner of 40th Street and Brooklyn Avenue Northeast within Alder Commons. It is a satellite to Hall Heath Center located on North Campus. (Photo by Sidney Sullivan)

The 15 minute trek from West Campus to Hall Health Center can be miserable if unwell.

“Admittedly, when I am sick the trip is quite inconvenient,” said Stephanie Rey, a freshman resident of Mercer Court.

Fortunately for Rey and other West Campus dwellers, Hall Health West exists to help alleviate the hassle. HHW is a satellite consulting-nurse clinic located within Alder Commons in Alder Hall, and it works to provide accessible health services to students in need of wound care, counseling, health guidance and next step assessments.

HHW is stocked with small wound care, patient education, pamphlets, sinks, basic medical tools, a computer and a printer. Registered nurse Margaret Gill attributes that HHW stays in contact with HHC through the computer system, EPIC. This system allows nurses from both HHW and HHC to access the same client information and medical history files.

HHW has been operational since the fall term, and current hours are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Resources are available throughout the fall, winter and spring quarters. However, the pilot project still has trouble attracting large numbers of students.

“It is very much of an outpost,” explains Lynn M. Sorensen, the nurse manager of Hall Health Center. “It is a great resource, but so far it’s underutilized.”

Sorensen reports that HHW served 50 students in the fall, 73 students in the winter and 48 students in the spring, as of May 29.

“I have never utilized Hall Health West, because it is not all-encompassing,” comments Mercer Court resident Gina Durst. In comparison to the HHC parent counterpart, HHW offers limited health services, as it lacks the ability to provide x-rays, immunizations, pharmaceuticals, physical exams and labs. Sorensen attributes this issue to room capacity and affordability.

Despite the slow introduction, the prospects for HHW still remains high, because the pilot project is very positive overall. Sorensen reveals that HHW has sparked enough response, and a memorandum-of-understanding with Housing and Food Services has been signed for another year.

“I can see it evolving,” said Sorensen, when asked about the future of HHW in relation to West Campus. “There are thousands of students in that area because of the residence halls and apartments. That is a population we can serve.”

“We are trying to find ways to advertise and expose the service, in hopes we can provide more efficient services for students that are convenient to them,” said nurse Gill.

Additionally, Sorensen expects that the anticipated Hall Health mobile friendly website update should help navigate students to HHW.

Sorensen attributes that an open house for HHW was held on April 1. While a few students did drop by Alder Commons, the main targeted audience was administrative types such as HFS and Health and Wellness.

Hall Health, as an entire unit, is supported by Student Activity Fees. Sorensen explains that Hall Health representatives annually present the Student Activity Fee Committee with a budget for approval. Afterwards, SAFC members discuss the budget, and the student committee drafts a letter to the Board of Regents for final approval.

“There is a great cohesiveness with student life and Hall Health” said Sorensen. “That is why this speaks so student centric. HHW is an important service to students.”

“We are an essential service,” Sorensen continues. “So even when the campus is closed, we are expected to be here and provide services in emergencies: emergency response, emergency operations and disaster response.”

“We are here for everything for the student,” enthused nurse Gill. “Their health, their goals and their schooling –– we love it all!”

Shiga’s StreetFair Supporting Seattle Serenity

By SIDNEY SULLIVAN   May 16, 2015

Captain Flash (a.k.a. Captain Drift) engages his young audience member with an interactive street theatre performance titled “Save the Unicorn” at the University District StreetFair on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Sidney Sullivan)

Captain Flash (a.k.a. Captain Drift) engages his young audience member with an interactive street theatre performance titled “Save the Unicorn” at the University District StreetFair on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Sidney Sullivan)

Seattle police forces barricade weekend traffic from entering the Ave.

Not for street riots, protests and violence. But instead for the University District StreetFair.

The U District StreetFair, sponsored by the Greater University Chamber of Commerce, welcomed approximately 300 participating artists and vendors, and nearly 50,000 visitors circulated throughout University Way Northeast. This weekend marked the fair’s 46th consecutive year of operation, and according to the fair’s official website it is the longest running fair of its kind throughout America. Since the fair’s launch in 1970, it continued to serve the community by encouraging longstanding unity and harmony.

Initially, the U District StreetFair came to life under Andy Shiga, a Japanese American merchant and peace activist, in order to combat the local social unrest of the 1960s. During this point in history, there was a great divide between the local community, students and merchants. Hence, Shiga’s end goal was to mend this rift through a community-building festival that honored live music and the arts.

The first ever University District Street Fair of 1970 served to calm and end the local rioting. (AP Photo/ Paul Dorpat)

The first ever University District Street Fair of 1970 served to calm and end the local rioting. (AP Photo/ Paul Dorpat)

When asked about the historical turmoil, Toshimo Shiga, widow of Mr. Shiga and current president of Shiga’s Imports, said, “We had a problem with street people. Stores were closed, shops were dirty and windows were broken. Poor business. My husband believed in peace. So he made peace.”

By 1970, Shiga accomplished that with the assistance of Safeco executive Ron Denchfield and the University District Chamber of Commerce. The committee hosted the first University District StreetFair that year on May 23 and 24. As a result, students and locals developed a better relationship with local merchants; hence, the riots ceased. Community divisions were healed, and peace was restored locally.

At the street fair today, there is a broad mixture of food vendors, craftsmen tables and live performances. The street performer Captain Flash (a.k.a. Captain Drift) stages an interactive theatre piece called “Save the Unicorn.” The concept of the interactive show is that an audience member controls Captain Flash, as if he is a character within a video game. In fact, four controllers, which are handcrafted from recyclables, are provided in order to direct Captain Flash during his performance. Furthermore, upon winning the theatre modeled video game, Captain Flash congratulates the participating audience member with an additional performance, as he uses a flute to play an extra end song called “Snowflake.”

“Actual interaction sets my act apart from other people,” claims Captain Flash. “But what they [audience] don’t know is that they’re not playing me. I’m playing them.”

Unquestionably, the street fair continues to provide visitors with a multi-cultural experience. Music acts ranged from jazz combos, rock and roll bands, reggae artists, African marimba ensembles and traditional Korean culture performances. And the variety of food trucks were equally as diverse: Central and South American, Asian, European, African, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern.

“The fair’s mission statement is purposefully kept broad,” attributes FIUTS Board of Trustees President Michelle Primely-Benton. “So the fair attracts a broad range of vendors and entertainment, while it brings the community closer and definitely inspires unity. It is a center for diversity.”

The StreetFair ensures that Shiga’s intent to bring forth and highlight numerous types of artists, musicians, booths and vendors remains valued. Hence, Primely-Benton thinks that the StreetFair helps uphold the peace of the community.

The fair is crucial to the U District locals, and sustaining community is a must. Especially this year, as current events, such as riots in Baltimore, spark parallels to Seattle’s darker past.

Speaking on this issue, Hua Nguyen, the assistant manager of Shiga’s Imports, notes that street fairs could perhaps help communities like Baltimore’s. “People like fairs and community events. [Our] preserved fair puts out a strong message that this is what really matters. Artists will change, and merchants will change. But values of community, peace and family –– those are the things that just won’t change!”