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#57 Team Naturaleza

I have three guests from Team Naturaleza: Coordinator Katie Tackman and outreach specialists Elisa Lopez and Blanca Lopez. Team Naturaleza is a nonprofit doing amazing work encouraging people from all walks of life and from all ethnic backgrounds to get outdoors and develop a greater understanding and appreciation for the natural world. This volunteer-based organization creates opportunities to take novices snowshoeing, bird watching, hiking and other outdoor activities. Their work is...


#56 Manson teacher Matt Brown's connection with students

For this week’s art of community podcast, I’m doing something a little bit different. Second grade teacher Veronique Paquette from Kenroy Elementary joins me to interview Matt Brown of Manson School District, who is the north central regional teacher of the year for the 2018 and 2019 school year. This is the first of several collaborative interviews Paquette and I will be doing to highlight highly effective educators. Matt Brown has built an outstanding music program in Manson. His...


#55 The transformative power of Alatheia Riding Center

My guests this week are Glenn and Nancy Grette, the founders of Alatheia Therapeutic Riding Center. In eight years, they have nurtured a nonprofit that helps people with physical and mental disabilities experience the healing power of horses. In the process, they are transforming lives of clients, their parents and the more than 120 volunteers. And with the help of a generous donor, they are purchasing 12 acres to build an even bigger facility to transform more lives. This is truly a...


#54 IRIS and the NCW Success Summit

My guest this week is Nancy Warner, the executive director of the Initiative for Rural Innovation and Stewardship. IRIS, as it is called, has been one of the most effective community building organizations in North Central Washington. They focus on discovering and sharing stories of community success in dealing with challenges as a way of inspiring civic resilience. On Thursday, Nov. 15, IRIS will be hosting its annual success summit in Pateros where we will learn how that town recovered...


#53: New Song Community Church's impact in India

I have three guests this week. Tim Wilbur and Don Myers are the senior pastors at New Song Community Church in East Wenatchee. They are joined by Victor Samuel, who is the head of the Christian El Shaddai Ministry in India. New Song and El Shaddai have had a long-standing relationship. Wilbur has helped train 15,000 rural pastors in India. El Shaddai focuses on meeting human needs of the most vulnerable folks in Andhra Pradesh state. What they have created together is an international...


#52 Lorna Rose-Hahn and Write On The River

My guest this week is Lorna Rose-Hahn, the president of the board for Write On The River, an organization dedicated to supporting authors and poets in North Central Washington. We talk about her background, how her experience as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Alaska changed her life and gave her focus. She’s working on her own memoir and writes for various local and literary publications. We also discussed how Write On The River has also changed from an organization focusing on one conference...


#51 Cary Simmons and the redevelopment of Methow Park

My guest this week is Cary Simmons, the director of the Trust for Public Land’s Parks for People program. The organization has been engaging neighbors in South Wenatchee and throughout the community in the redevelopment of Kiwanis Methow Park. TPL is also working on a second park in East Wenatchee on 9th Street. “The work we’re doing in the Wenatchee Valley feels really special and I think a big part of that is just the community aspect of this place and the way that Methow Park and the new...


#50 How the Wenatchee Naturalist program creates civic engagement

This week’s podcast focuses on the remarkable Wenatchee Naturalist program. My guests are Susan Ballinger, who founded the program, a mother and daughter team – Jan and Chelsea Evans — who participated in the program, and Michelle Gedrose of Wenatchee Valley College. The Wenatchee Naturalist program is part of WVC's continuing education program. There are many community-building layers to this program. It brings together students of all ages to learn about the wonders of the natural world...


#49 Barbara Walters and the power of libraries to build community

My guest this episode is Barbara Walters, the executive director of the North Central Regional Library. Walters brings a strong relationship building and community service mindset to the position. She’s a fervent believer in the power of creating community partnerships and working with individual communities to make the maximum positive impact. Walters sees the role of the library system as something far beyond being a place of checking out books. First and foremost, libraries are a place...


#48 Jana Fischback and the impact of Sustainable Wenatchee

My guest for this episode is Jana Fischback, the executive director of Sustainable Wenatchee, a nonprofit devoted to encouraging community members to live more sustainable lives and reduce our impact on the environment. Fischback is an East Wenatchee native who has a masters in environmental studies. Sustainable Wenatchee is a education and advocacy organization that gives people practical ways to live simpler, less resource-intensive lives. The approach of Sustainable Wenatchee is...


#47: Serve Wenatchee Valley's powerful model of fostering hope

My guest this week is Thom Nees, the executive director of Serve Wenatchee Valley, an organization that is devoted to keeping families from slipping into homelessness in the Wenatchee Valley. As many as 70 families a week receive assistance from the organization. They provide critical financial help in a time of crisis but they have become adept at helping foster a sense of hope in clients that is essential for people to move forward in their lives. So many of our neighbors living at the...


#46 Patrick Walker and the Wenatchee River Institute

My guest this week is Patrick Walker, the energetic executive director of the Wenatchee River Institute, an outdoor learning center in Leavenworth that is providing unique opportunities for students and community members to engage with the natural world. When Walker took over the program four years ago, the institute was struggling to find its place in the community. Walker has a knack for hiring talented people and rallying people around a common vision. The institute has developed into...


#45: Volunteer Attorney Services of Chelan-Douglas County

My guests this week are attorney Scott Volyn and executive director Eloise Barshes of Chelan-Douglas County Volunteer Attorney Services. The organization provides legal guidance for low-income people in civil cases, thanks to attorneys who donate their time and expertise. We talked about their backgrounds, the need for helping people with limited means in civil legal cases, and a few of the heartwarming stories where Volunteer Attorney Services helped people in need. Communities succeed...


#44: Michelle McCormick and the magic of Stage Kids in the Wenatchee Valley

My guest this week is Michelle McCormick, the executive director of Stage Kids, an organization that is creating unique opportunities for hundreds of local kids to discover and develop their theater skills. Stage Kids has created a sense of belonging and community for the kids who are involved and also for the community at large. Because of Stage Kids Washington, hundreds of kids in the Wenatchee Valley have developed greater confidence, honed their acting, singing and dancing skills. This...


#43 Carrie Newcomer: Bridging the divide in community

My guest this week is celebrated folk singer Carrie Newcomer. We talked her powerful insights about how we can bridge the divisions in our communities. In our highly polarized society, Newcomer invites us to show up differently in our community – with kindness, generosity and hospitality. In every community she visits, Newcomer sees people working hard trying to make the world a little kinder place. Newcomer has visited North Central Washington many times. She taught songwriting at the...


#42 Lisa Bradshaw and the DON'T WAIT PROJECT

My guest this week is Lisa Bradshaw, who is passionate about inspiring people to take charge of their happiness through her DON'T WAIT PROJECT. The project encourages people to do things that give their lives meaning, joy and fulfillment, from the smallest acts of kindness to more profound life changes. Bradshaw knows a lot about loss. She survived a bout of cancer at age 24, then lost her husband to a rare condition eight years later that left her and their five-year-old son with a...


#41: WestSide High fundraiser helps 4-year-old with leukemia

This week’s episode features WestSide High School’s leadership program and a fundraiser that will be held March 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the school to benefit a four-year-old Wenatchee youngster who is battling cancer at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Jocelyn Aguilar, her mom and brother are staying at Ronald McDonald House in Seattle while she’s receiving treatment. I spoke with leadership club advisor Sheena Zacherle and students Justyena Wilson and Rebecca Figueroa. Wilson and Figueroa are...


#40: How the Wenatchee YMCA enhances community vitality

My guest for this episode is Dorry Foster, the executive director of the Wenatchee Valley YMCA. Since Foster arrived a year ago last fall, the YMCA has made some important strides forward in serving the youth of this valley. Foster is a leader dedicated to continuous improvement, what she calls “ “notching up” YMCA programs. There are powerful collaborations happening with school districts in both Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, and some exciting new programs for kids including a mentorship...


#39 Our Valley: Rewiring the community from the ground up

We’re doing something special for this week’s podcast. I joined with Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort to host a community conversation on February 8th focusing on grass-roots community building effort called Our Valley Our Future. My guests were Our Valley coordinator Steve Maher and Stacy Luckensmeyer, who is on the core team, along with Dr. Gene Sharratt and Dr. Sue Kane, who are helping lead am effort to create a research and innovation district in the valley. We talked about the...


#38: The magical power of Pybus Public Market in building community

My guests this week are Kristin Wright Lodge and Katie Pauly of the Pybus Market Charitable Foundation board. We spoke about the magical way that Pybus Public Market has brought the Wenatchee Valley together and about the exciting plans to remodel the event center annex as a way of better serving the community. Many people in our valley are under the mistaken impression that Pybus belongs to Mike and JoAnn Walker because they were the financial and strategic leaders behind the development...