When the sun Shines in Washington…

When the sun Shines in Washington...

… everything comes alive! Rachel and I spent the morning along the Tiger Mountain Trail in Issaquah, then came back down to Tacoma, had some lunch on 6th ave and walked along the Foss Waterway.

It was one of the best days I have had in Washington- I cannot wait for summer, and I think the rest of Washington agrees! Once we got back into Tacoma it was amazing to see all of the activity and people out and about on some sunny adventure. Convertibles, motorcycles, sun dresses, kayaks and SUPs strapped onto car roofs. The smell of someone barbecuing in the distance completed the picture- it felt like the 4th of July.

Thank you, Washington, for making this LA girl appreciate the sunshine.

Pictured is Rainier- forever watching over Washington from two different directions.

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Nenda kwa amani, Profesa.

Chinua Achebe died this morning. His books have challenged the way we think and have been an inspiration to many young writers.
We have lost another great person. Who will fill the void left by his passing? What will I, my generation, do to remember the people who have fought for a better world? What will we do to continue working toward those ideals?

Hearing about this loss makes me sad. I must ask myself what can I do with my life in honor of all that he stood for.

Jamm ak jamm, samay Jangelekat.

Just a Rant.

I cannot say this enough: I truly believe what I am doing is good work, and I love what I am doing. It is something that I find I am saying repetitively. Probably because there is something that feels inherently depressing about it.

We come into peoples lives at a low point- when they have nowhere else to turn but to ask for help from a nonprofit. I/we do what we can to make their lives a little better, but that’s tough because sometimes my life is a mess too.

Spring needs to get here. I think winter in Washington is starting to get to me.

MLK Work Week in Review

It has been a LONG week and now… I’m sick! Cough, cough and sniffle sniffle. I think my body has finally given up on trying to keep up! Luckily, I am back in WA state with a bit of time to recover, step back, and reflect on the past week.

Last week, I was one of 65 AmeriCorps memebers serving with Rebuilding Together’s CapacityCorps to meet in Oklahoma City. We worked on 9 homes of low-income homeowners in the CEC Triangle of OKC. It was an amazing way to honor Martin Luther King Jr., and I believe the work that CapacityCorps members do and who we are is a testament to the doctor’s legacy.

One of the many moments I will always remember from MLK work week was eaves dropping on two of my fellow team members as they talked about what life was like to live in a segregated world- before the equality movements of the 1960’s. It was a totally random moment that put everything in perspective. Being 25 and of Japanese ancestry, I have never experienced discrimination of that magnitude, but I have living relatives who have. I cannot help but have an immense amount of respect and admiration for those in previous generations who have shouldered the burden of and taken up arms against social injustice. The world I live in is a much better place not only thanks to the civil rights leaders… but also to the people who lived in an unequal world and took action along with them.

I am proud of who I am and I am thankful for all those who have come before me that have allowed me to feel as such.

65 CapacityCorps members at MLK work week in OKC

Our world is not a perfect world and I have a tendency to over criticize “the way things are”, but just being present for MLK work week gave me a sense of hope. When you look at what an AmeriCorps members is… there is no singular demographic. We all come from around the country, with various ethnic backgrounds, of varied religious and political beliefs. The only commonality is that we believe in giving back and bettering the communities we live in.

I am beyond proud to be a part of this group and this generation. I am proud to know that there are still groups of people who believe in a better world and actively seek ways to make it happen!

Link to some of the news coverage we got in OKC: http://kfor.com/2013/01/21/service-day-rebuilding-together-honors-mlk/

Right now?

So far, this week has been tough.

Work is starting to pick up for me (its getting closer and closer to April!) and I am hardly able to keep my mind wrapped around it all. I have about a thousand lists and post-it notes and pages filled with scribbles in notebooks and calendars.

My living situation has not been ideal. Generally, I think of myself as a pretty easy to live with person. I haven’t had any major drama with house/roommates thus far, but the current situation I am in is a bit much. I’ve been here for only 3 months, and people who moved in after I did are already moving out OR got kicked out of the house. Definitely a source of stress to have to worry that something you do may get you removed from your only place to sleep. I am hoping that it all fizzles out… once the people who have been asked to leave the house are gone, things should calm down.

All of this has me constantly thinking of how nice it will be to be back in CA. For the first time (pretty much ever) I cannot wait for the holidays. I cannot wait to see the peeps in the bay (and possibly Tahoe!) over Thanksgiving and family (and friends who are almost family) back in LA.

Always looking to the future this one. Never his mind on where he is, what he is doing.

National Rebuilding Day in the South Sound

Article from The Suburban Times

Free home repairs for low-income homeowners

 | October 2, 2012

By Lindsay Shigetomi, Rebuilding Together South Sound

TACOMA, WA – Free home repairs are available for qualified low-income homeowners through local non-profit Rebuilding Together South Sound. Rebuilding Together South Sound, an affiliate of Rebuilding Together Inc., plans to complete 15 critical home repair projects with the help of hundreds of volunteers on National Rebuilding Day 2013. National Rebuilding Day is a major volunteer work day taking place on April 27th, 2013. Volunteers, local sponsors and community partners will work together with low-income homeowners to complete critical home repair projects that will keep occupants warm, safe and dry.

Applications for Rebuilding Day 2013 are now available and Rebuilding Together South Sound is seeking qualified homeowners. In order to be eligible for services, an applicant must 1) own their home, 2) be low-income, 3) be elderly, a person with a disability, or a family with children, and 4) live in Pierce County, Federal Way or Auburn. Applications for Rebuilding Day 2013 are due Saturday, December 1st, 2012.

Many local families have struggled in recent years to provide for their basic necessities. The economic downturn and personal crises have challenged many individuals. For low-income families, necessary home repairs and modifications often go unattended because of a lack of resources. Rebuilding Together South Sound exists to ensure that everyone has a safe and healthy home, regardless of income. The organization is working to preserve the affordable housing stock in the South Sound, and promote aging in place by keeping people in their homes as long as possible.

National Rebuilding Day is the foundational event of Rebuilding Together Inc., the nation’s leading volunteer home repair organization. The organization is based on the idea of bringing families and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners. This effort culminates on National Rebuilding Day, where thousands of volunteers help their neighbors in need. 200 affiliates of Rebuilding Together Inc. across the country participate in National Rebuilding Day, cumulatively repairing 4,000 homes nation-wide.

Rebuilding Together South Sound encourages all community members to help spread the word about the services that are available to anyone who might qualify. To request an application or learn more, please call Rebuilding Together South Sound at 253-238-0977 or visit the website www.rebuildingtogetherss.org.

About Rebuilding Together South Sound: Rebuilding Together South Sound was founded in 2001 in response to the growing need for help in the Pierce County area where 44% of the homeowners are low-income. Their mission is to bring volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners – particularly the elderly, people with disabilities and families with children. Major home repairs are completed by volunteer teams on National Rebuilding Day, an annual work day in April. Home modifications, changes that increase the accessibility of the home, are completed throughout the year. With volunteer and in-kind support the community provides, each dollar raised provides a minimum of $4 worth of work for recipients. This year Rebuilding Together South Sound plans to complete a total of 50 projects.

For more information, visit www.RebuildingTogetherSS.org. You can also become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RTSouthSound.

Positive Vibrations

Working out of an office can bring me down, but its great being involved in something positive. When good things start happening and ideas are speeding about in my head I am reminded of how important it is to do something you love.