This year the SAMMI Awards Foundation has invited Sammamish Patch to share with you the comments of finalists in its 11 award categories. We'll bring you several of these categories each day this week as we approach the March 16 awards ceremony. The public is invited to attend the ceremony at 7 p.m. at Eastridge Church on 24205 SE Issaquah Fall City Road.
The doors open at 5:30 p.m., and Girl Scout Troop 41595 has 6 girls who are doing a Silver Award Project to highlight past recipients at the Ceremony Reception. Be sure to stop by and say "Hi" to Sammamish Patch at the ceremony as well!
The foundation will be awarding the Youth Advocate Award this year in honor of Officer Stan Chapin, and is dedicating the ceremony in his memory of serving the community in so many ways.
Here are this year's finalists, in their own words, for the Youth Advocate, Trevor Price, and Business Awards:
One who values and supports Sammamish youth and champions their needs and interests in the community.
Walter Beauchamp: As a Scoutmaster I have the pleasure to lead 65+ young men, on a journey that includes leadership development, challenging oneself (both physically and mentally), learning teamwork, responsibility, accountability, respect for our nation, citizenship and good moral judgment. We use the outdoors as our “classroom” and as the Unit Leader – I set the vision. I instill in them the desire to help others, challenge themselves, inspire them to lead, and lastly - to enhance their view of being a good citizen, by performing service to others. This teaches them to make good choices of high ethical and moral values in their life. As a BSA volunteer we joke about “it’s only an hour per week” but I’d add “per boy in the unit”. With all of that said, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ll always remember all of the high adventures, outings, meetings, and conferences I’ve had with each of the Scouts – with a smile and a sense of pride – knowing they truly were prepared, and that they did many good turns for others. The experience touches my heart and soul, and in hearing them speak – I believe it does for them as well. The added bonus is spending time with one very special Eagle Scout – my son!
Connor Creswell: Through the humbling process of starting Cool Kicks, my goal was to help others, which I believe I have done. I had the opportunity to meet one of the foster kids named Josh who has benefited from Cool Kicks. Josh told me that something as simple as receiving a nice pair of shoes made him feel important. There are many foster kids who must feel the way Josh does. My passion for shoes became the vehicle for meeting a need. I now understand that we are all part of a community and we have the responsibility to take care of each other’s needs.
Brooke Holland: I do what I do because I love it. After a long day of school and soccer practice, nothing makes me happier than seeing the little girls that I coach. Putting a smile on their face is what I live for because if you are not having fun, then what is the point? I feel that my job is to make them believe in themselves and let them know that they are capable of achieving anything if they put their mind to it. I share the knowledge, discipline and inspiration that I have gained over the years and hope that it helps them become better people in all aspects of their athletic and academic lives. I love what I do!
Janine Kotan: The simple answer to that question is that I do what I do to impact the lives of children. I want to be a voice for children who don’t always get the opportunity to speak for themselves. I want all children to have every chance to be the best that they can be. I want them to be recognized as individuals who have incredible potential. I also love that I can be a leader among the amazing parent and educator leaders in this community. Sometimes, however, I help simply because I can. It’s a basic idea: if you can help, you should help…It also doesn’t hurt that I have made many wonderful lifelong friends while simply doing what we do. The volunteer work that I do is fulfilling and truly makes me happy!
Pat & Kim Parnell: When someone asks why we love to work with the youth, our answer is simple. We have a passion for building relationships and being role models for the kids in our community. Through various roles, we have been able to build relationships and trust with the students we teach, the Young Life kids we mentor and with the football players Pat coaches. We feel blessed to have these kids in our lives. Our hope is to not only be in their lives for the present time but to build life-long relationships that will continue to always make an impact with the kids we know now and the ones we hope to meet soon.
Trevor Price Award
To honor the memory of student Trevor Price who lost his five month battle with leukemia in 2002. This award was established to recognize Sammamish youth under age 13 who outwardly display compassion, respect and kindness setting a positive example for his/her peers.
Allie Murphy: I want to give kids the chance play sports. I know how important it is to feel part of a team. It makes kids feel included and a bigger part of their school community. Ryan, Nathan and I thought that if we did something that we liked to do, include others, and raise money for a good cause, it would be fun! We realized that it doesn’t take a lot to make a difference. Hopefully, leading by example, we can inspire others to do amazing things!
Nathan Gelbrich: We started a basketball tournament to benefit the CYO athletic scholarship fund when we realized some kids were standing on the sidelines because their families couldn't afford the fees. CYO sports helped us develop morally and physically for the better and we wanted all kids like us to have the opportunity for that same experience. By starting a basketball tournament with a small entry fee, we helped kids at our school realize everyone can make a difference and have fun doing it! We haven't met any of the kids that benefitted from these scholarships, but every time we head out on the court we feel really good knowing that we helped others experience the challenges and rewards of being part of a team!
Ryan Brown: I started out trying to help just a few people. It turned that I had helped out more people than I had imagined. The St. Joseph School Basketball Tournament started out as just a tournament for our school, but then we thought that we could turn it into a fundraiser for the CYO scholarship fund. Hosting the tournament and knowing that we helped people was a real pleasure for me. Being able to participate in the tournament too was a lot of fun. This experience helped me see how good it feels to help other people.
An owner or manager of a Sammamish enterprise who generously uses their business resources to help support community causes.
Rhonda Newton, DDS
As a dentist and a business owner in Sammamish, I have had a strong need to give back to a community that has sustained me for over 16 years. With so many friends and devoted patients I feel like Sammamish is my home, even though I reside in Issaquah. I have chosen to sponsor any school in Sammamish with a policy to never say “No” to any patient who asks me to help A primary vehicle that helps me contribute to the community is through Sammamish Kiwanis, where I have been a member for 16 years, and whose focus is primarily helping children. Through Kiwanis, I have been able to do the roadside cleanups twice per year, the toy drive for Hopelink, and participating in the yearly Santa breakfast, participate in the ice cream sales at the Concerts in the Park, and sitting on the scholarship committee for Eastlake. Sponsoring the Kids Zone every year at the City’s Fourth on the Plateau celebration has been particularly fun and challenging. I believe it’s important to understand that serving in the smallest of ways makes all the difference to the person receiving your gift.