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2023 Neighbor Day Recognition

Generosity, empathy, and kindness are essential to a healthy, thriving community. As we continue to rebuild and reconnect after several challenging years, we want to highlight stories about the ways community members across Seattle have gone above and beyond to give back to others and strengthen their communities. To recognize these acts of kindness as part of our annual Neighbor Day celebration, we asked community members to submit nominations for people, businesses, and organizations who they feel went above and beyond to help support their friends and neighbors.

Here is what we heard from community members, in their own words:

Five people stand behind a food counter smiling and all wearing shirts that say "Toyoda Sushi."

Helen Lee Toyoda/Toyoda Sushi, Lake City. “Toyoda Sushi is a friendly and delicious family restaurant and it is so much more! Those of us who eat there are meant to feel like treasured members of a community. The way the staff treats us makes the meal nourishing to the soul and emotions as well as the taste buds and body. Helen Toyoda is always sure to ask how our kids are doing and greets us in a way that lets us know she is genuinely glad to see us. As a result, people are in a friendly, positive mood and often chat with each other while waiting for a table or while seated at the Sushi Bar. Sometimes when I meet a person and I find out through conversation that they also go to Toyoda Sushi regularly, I feel like I have found a long-lost cousin! It’s a big celebration and a lovely, warm experience every time we walk in the door, complete with photos and greeting cards on the wall from members of the extended family of the community members. During the pandemic, Helen and the rest of the staff persevered in order to find creative ways to keep serving our neighborhood and to keep the sense of family and community going. It must have been exhausting! It was clearly a labor of love. I appreciate Helen and the whole staff at Toyoda Sushi. I am thankful that they are still going strong, and still a vibrant part of my neighborhood.”

Nominated by: Meredith Berlin, customer

A blonde, white woman smiling wearing a semi-wide brimmed white hat with dangly white earrings.

Maren Finzer, Eastlake. “Maren’s invaluable contributions to alleviating homelessness in our city are huge yet often under-appreciated. As her neighbor, I see her light on at her desk working holidays and late into the night. Through her dedication to cultivating meaningful connections and fostering collaborative investments at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, she has made a lasting and positive impact on countless lives. Her unwavering kindness, can-do attitude, and charming Pacific Northwest spirit imbue every aspect of her work. Despite the immense effort she invests in problem-solving and her tireless pursuit of solutions, Maren remains a humble and modest force. It is important to recognize and express gratitude for her tireless commitment to making our community a better place for everyone.”

Nominated by: Stafford Green, neighbor

A roundabout at an street intersection with a large artwork sculpture of a coffee mug.

Anonymous Artsy Neighbor, Cherry Hill. “Thank you to whoever placed this giant coffee cup in our local roundabout! Before the coffee cup appeared, drivers would always drive through and rip up the small garden placed in the center of our neighborhood roundabout. At some point, a neighbor placed this larger-than-life coffee cup in the center of the roundabout. Now, not only do we have some public art on our block, but no one speeds through the roundabout anymore!”

Nominated by: Janelle Ligrani, neighbor

A Black woman with long braids dyed slightly red, wearing a white cap with a band of shells and markings on her face with white paint.

ADEFUA Cultural Education Workshop, Rainier Valley. “ADEFUA is a non-profit organization that is central to youth and families within and surrounding Seattle communities. Our community-based organization has been providing traditional and authentic West African cultural Arts Education, Performances, and various programming year-round since 1985 in South Seattle. Every Summer since 1988 ADEFUA has provided Summer Programming in the Parks and Community. ADEFUA’S work stands tall for these 38 years and is currently a cultural anchor for the community. ADEFUA has shared values of community building and supporting health and wellness within local and roots connections. ADEFUA has always provided a safe place for all.

Nominated by: Afua Kouyate, Executive Director

A collage of four photos. The first features people in a white passenger van. The second is a group of seven people behind a table with a cover that says "Immanuel Community Services." The third is a person wearing a knit cap standing in  front of crates of food in the back of a van. The fourth is three people standing in a kitchen.

SLU Foodbank at Immanuel Community Services, South Lake Union. “This is the longest-running social service organization in the South Lake Union/Cascade neighborhood. On a very very slim budget, they take care of our most vulnerable neighbors. Immanuel Community Services (ICS) does amazing work with a small but mighty staff with a food bank that also has home delivery, a hygiene center that has showers and laundry service, a community lunch once a month open to all community members, and a shelter for men in recovery. They have been delivering exceptional services for years. The motivation for this nomination is that like many, these past few years have been beyond difficult for ICS. What is amazing is that services were not stopped as the mission of bringing HOPE to our neighbors was first and foremost. The team established safety standards that not only protected clients but also staff. Never occurred to the team to close but the challenge of the past few years encouraged them to find new ways to do what they do. Many of the standards put into place were used as role models for other organizations. The team at ICS is phenomenal and for all they have done, I feel inspired and compelled to nominate them for this recognition.”

Nominated by: Curt Archambault, board member

A woman, wearing a black coat and white top hat with feather stands next to a man wearing a baseball hat and blue coat.

Benjamin Wind Spirit, Downtown. “I live in Capitol Hill and was visiting Pike Place Market with my mom on her birthday this past February. I was explaining the latest waterfront construction to my mom when Benjamin Windspirit, an artist who lives in a work loft attached to the MarketFront, came to join our conversation about the construction. I mentioned it was my mom’s birthday and he said, “I have a present for you!” He led us to his work loft where he gifted my mom this amazing white top hat and her choice of small colorful feathers he had artfully arranged. It was such a lovely gesture and made the rest of our day as my mom got tons of compliments from strangers and we had quite the story to tell at her birthday dinner!”

Nominated by: Alex Porter, neighbor

A man with short gray hair wearing latex gloves and holding a takeout food box with rows of paper bags in the background.

Chris Leverson/Build Lake City Together, Lake City. “Chris and his Build Lake City Together group do so much for this community and provide so much NEEDED support and share a vast amount of helpful opportunities and resources with as many branches of this diverse community and help create a feeling of unity and inclusion that is sometimes hard to find in this city and the north end. His group and their support system have taken in two local minority-owned start-up businesses in their Business Incubation program and have provided an incredible opportunity to us and our neighborhood by creating HeartSpace. A community space that offers not only a location for our small businesses but also for local families and groups to come together for a multitude of valued events and opportunities ranging from food drives and produce giveaways in conjunction with local farms and food banks. HeartSpace is a place where locals can gather for celebrations and offers a space with enough room to have multiple families and their friends and neighbors. And it offers a stage and access to sound and lighting equipment for entertaining and presenting to a crowd. It has been a great place for us to gather and enjoy comedy nights and poetry events. There have been live music and theater performances as well as pop-up markets featuring local vendors and artists offering a wide variety of handmade goods and art that is as diverse as the neighborhood’s residents. And it truly feels like it’s creating UNITY THROUGH DIVERSITY! It’s been an amazing contribution to our community and an opportunity of a lifetime for me as an independent native artist and entrepenuer. I’m grateful for the influence that He brings for so many reasons and he hardly ever allows himself to take credit for all that he does so that is one of the major reasons I nominate him as a person who should be celebrated on NEIGHBOR DAY!”

Nominated by: Jeremy DeCory

An older white man with short hair and glasses, smiling, holding a guitar and standing behind a microphone.

Bob Jackson, Maple Leaf. “After spending decades in Key West, FL, I retired to Seattle and moved into a house in Maple Leaf. The large tree in my front yard drops huge black leaves everywhere, but mostly in my neighbor Bob’s yard. So imagine my surprise the first time I came home and found him with his leaf blower, cleaning up MY whole yard. And that’s not all! Whenever it snows he shovels not only the sidewalk in front of my house but the whole path leading to my front door. And that’s not all! He informs me when there are packages in front of my door and, finally, unlike me, he never gets upset when my dog barks. He says it makes him feel protected. What Seattle freeze?”

Nominated by: Kim Romano, neighbor

Shawna Murphy, South Park. “Shawna, you have been a most amazing neighbor. A forever supporter of humans and a ride-or-die-helper. Thank you for continuing to host the Sharing Shed.”

Nominated by: Lashanna, neighbor.

A Latinx woman with arms crossed wearing a green sweater standing at twilight with a river in the background.

Paulina López/Duwamish River Community Coalition, South Park. “Paulina is a South Park resident and well-known community leader who advocates for environmental justice along with her constant passion in helping immigrant families to live in dignity”

Nominated by: Maribel Pastor, colleague.

A Black woman wearing a black and white headscarf, long round earrings and a black sweatshirt standing near a tree with lush green leaves.

Ella McRae, High Point. “Ella has been an impenetrable foundation to the High Point community. She has gone above and beyond to support the community in High Point and has worked tirelessly to help neighbors get back on their feet in hard times and provides events to celebrate the good times. Ella deserves this recognition not only because she works an impeccable amount of hours to support the community but also because of the impact that she makes on the High Point community. From providing Bicycle Fix-It fairs to plants to those who could grow their own food sustainably, Ella has all the right materials to be recognized for Neighbor Day.

“Ella is invaluable to the High Point Community. Her tireless effort to connect High Point residents with organizations and create partnerships to help High Point integrate with the greater Seattle area cannot be understated. Along with assisting those in need and helping residents become more self-sufficient, Ella has also organized many community events such as; Back to School Supply Fairs, Winter Fest, Community Safety Meetings with SPD, Soul Line Dancing, Community Healing Circles, Seniors to Create Art Workshops, Bike Repair Days, the High Point Salmon Street Mural Celebration, and much more. Ella worked tirelessly collaborating with countless organizations to bring the High Point Community together and the neighborhood would not be the same without her. As such, as a current Seattle Housing Authority resident of the High Point community, I am nominating Ella McRae to be recognized for Neighbor Day.”

Nominated by: Eric Cho, organizational partner; Ky Nguyen, High Point resident;

Kelly Crow/Praiseallujia, Burien/SeaTac. “I nominate (Pastor) Kelly Crow for his never-ending food giveaways to the community. Pastor Kelly has been the largest contributor to holding these events. Pastor Kelly also hosts night walks to serve the homeless with necessary food, information, and prayer.”

Nominated by: Barbara Miller, former volunteer

Five people standing behind a pile of full yellow garbage bags with a sign that reads "Block Drop Clean Ups."

Erik Bell/ A Cleaner Alki, West Seattle. “I’d like to nominate Erik Bell and A Cleaner Alki for going above and beyond as a member of the West Seattle Community. This group is going above and beyond to clean up abandoned homeless camps, unsightly bus stops, and other dumping spots throughout West Seattle. He has also created DIY clean-up kits and moves them around the neighborhood daily based on recommendations from community members and just what he comes across.”

“Erik is the most selfless person I know. He leads by example. No project is too big. Simply admirable!!”

“I have been watching his activities on the FB Group “West Seattle Connection” and am AMAZED at his kindness and effort in making our area a GREAT place to live.”

“Born as a Saturday morning beach cleanup group, A Cleaner Alki has evolved into a movement that’s making a real difference for people and the environment in the West Seattle community (and beyond). Through the weekly group, and self-led cleanups, A Cleaner Alki promotes community through action, purpose, and fellowship powered by like-minded neighbors seeking to create cleaner, safer spaces and a culture of stewardship in the Pacific Northwest.”

“Erik has tirelessly led significant, large-scale cleanup efforts in West Seattle and other areas for years, forming a large group, A Cleaner Alki, that keeps growing and having a major impact on the community and the environment; in addition, his cleanups are helping individuals living unhoused. He’s inspired others to make a difference and leads with passion and compassion. He highlights the efforts of others above himself and is the definition of selfless service in the interest of a cause larger than himself.”

Nominated by: Kirsten Franklin-Temple; Jessica Santana, volunteer; Lori Koth, friend; Kate Lorenzini, volunteer; Serena Zilka Wastman, supporter; Meghan Finley, neighor; Conrad Cipoletti, friend;

Neighbor on Perkins Lane in Magnolia. “On December 23, 2022, there was a horrible ice storm. One of our neighbors went outside and slipped and fell, bruising and fracturing her arm and rib. Unfortunately, she couldn’t drive to the ER because of the icy roads. We happen to have a dedicated private Facebook page, and a retired doctor on the street gave advice on how to wrap a stint. Then [the helpful neighbor] put chains on his tires and drove [injured neighbor] to the ER. I’m so glad that he came to the rescue and it makes me happy to that know we are looking out for each other, especially when crazy things happen like adverse weather events.”

Nominated by: Bianca Richman, neighbor

Roxana Pardo Garcia, a Latinx woman with long, curly, dark hair standing on a bridge looking off-camera

Roxana Pardo Garcia/Alimentando El Pueblo, Burien. “Ever since I’ve known Roxana, I’ve known her to be a leader and a role model. She has done so much for Burien and out of the love she has for her community and as a result of the pandemic, she started Alimentando El Pueblo, the only Latinx food bank in the nation! Her selflessness and passion is truly beyond words.”

Nominated by: Mousy DeVilla, friend

Thinh Nguyen, Yesler Terrace. “Thinh is a leader in the Horiuchi P-Patch.”

Nominated by: Tera Oglesby, neighbor

Combine Recognition of Duwamish River Community Coalition, Khmer Community of Seattle and King County, Villa Comunitaria, SeaMar, Just Health Action, and Cultivate South Park. “On December 27, 2022 the Duwamish River flowed over its banks, due to a combination of extreme high tides and historic low pressures, and flooded homes, businesses, and streets in South Park. These organizations jumped in immediately to help their neighbors – providing for basic needs, and leading the City’s engagement with affected community members. Without their countless hours of work – through the holiday week, and beyond – the City would have been severely challenged to deliver emergency relief. Because of DRCC, Khmer Community of Seattle King County, Villa Comunitaria, SeaMar, Cultivate South Park, and Just Health Action, residents received food, shelter, clean clothes, clean-up help interpretation, advocacy, and the kind of support that only one’s community can provide.”

Nominated by: David Goldberg & Alberto Rodriguez, City of Seattle partner

A collage that shows pictures of two men volunteering side by side in 1989 and 2020.

David Toledo, West Seattle (resident), Rainier Valley, Georgetown, and Central District (volunteer). “For over 20 years, David has volunteered with our organization. He has written curriculum, helped with volunteer recruitment, trained volunteers in both administrative roles and in how to teach enrichment classes. He teaches K-5 enrichment in diverse neighborhoods, he helped to build our board, which boasts 80% BIPOC members. Outside of what he does for our non-profit, he regularly visits tent and Rainier Valley neighbors in transitional housing situations. Simply put, he loves his neighbors, and we’re all his neighbors.

Nominated by Ed Dumas, Unified Outreach.

A group of people  wearing either a gray or a black shirt pictured in mid jump.

Linh Thai/Mission Continues, West Seattle, Chinatown International District, Rainier Valley. “A veteran and inspiring community leader who goes out of his way to help all the members of the community.”

“Over the past decade, Linh has dedicated his time and efforts to youth development, voter registration, and service projects throughout these neighborhoods. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Linh continued to demonstrate his commitment to the community by working tirelessly to provide essential resources and support to those in need. His leadership and dedication have been instrumental in bringing the community together during these challenging times. I reported to Linh Thai while I was a community Project Manager with The Mission Continues, and Linh’s leadership, support, and care for the community is unrivaled. Linh shows up to an impossible number of volunteer events and gives 110% every time.”

“Linh is very passionate about his local Asian community as well as the Seattle community. I have only known him for a couple of years, however, he has never stopped doing both small and big projects. He invited me to help paint Little Saigon to launch the Day of Kindness in 2022, he has invited me to participate in a plethora of beautifications and community support areas. I love having him as a part of my inner circle of mentors and I believe he is very deserving of this honor.”

“Linh has been a key organizer in these neighborhoods for youth development, voter registrations, and significant service projects throughout these key areas. In addition to this, Linh has always taken some form of a leadership role in every organization he has been a part of, put his heart and soul into improvements for others, and acted as a prime advocate for those who would otherwise be silenced. He is, hands down, what Neighbor Day is about.”

Nominated by: Srikanth Mukku, member; Andrew Gutshall, previous employee; Amy Tiemeyer, volunteer partner; Khiem do, former martial arts instructor;

A group of women wearing yellow sweatshirts stand together on an outdoor stairwell.

Alimentando al pueblo, White Center. “This nonprofit Located in the White Center area is offering community and not just that, but also intentional, culturally relevant food for Latinos and Hispanics that are in need of food security! Getting culturally relevant food in a food bank is thinking about your community! ”

Nominated by: Gina G, supporter

A newspaper clipping with photo of an older Black man wearing a flat cap and glasses and headline that says "Community Coaching Legend Passes."

Charles Jackson, Central District Panthers youth football, Central District. “Charles Jackson’s greatest passion was supporting youth in his community through coaching, mentoring, and oftentimes serving as a father figure when needed. He began coaching little football in 1959 first at Rainier where he coached the Bantam’s from 1959 – 1990. From 1990 -1995, he coached for CAYA (Central Area Youth Association) and co-founded the Central District Panthers (CD Panthers) in 1995. For the past 26 years, the CD Panthers has been and will continue to be a haven for youth though out the Central District and neighboring communities thanks to Mr. Jackson.”

Nominated by: Chalayia Jackson, Central District, volunteer

A group of young people wearing health facemasks hold up handwritten signs and a banner that reads "SONG2SEA."

sông2sea, Little Saigon. “I would love to recognize sông2sea for all the wonderful work they do in supporting our some very crucial parts of our BIPOC/AAPI community and as well as those that are in need. Also for their efforts in education through their fundraising as well.”

“sông2sea recently wrapped up their 2023 calendar fundraiser for the community, sharing a total of $8,500 with community members facing deportation, a community organizer, a student, and various mutual aid groups (including the Eggrolls – the mutual aid group that operates in partnership with my restaurant, Chu Minh Tofu, to distribute hot meals and survival supplies every Sunday). Community members who have received the calendar have expressed their joy in learning about, and connecting to, Vietnamese culture!

The organization is very active in the CID Safety Network, working towards envisioning and creating a safer CID for everyone. This process has involved supporting the Eggrolls in local mutual aid efforts to support our neighbors and community members in the CID; participating in tabling events and distributing food such as events for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women; holding regular study groups to educate everyone.”

“Over the past few years, sông2sea has done amazing work for the Vietnamese Diaspora community and beyond. They’ve hosted book clubs, created art, raised money for mutual aid, and organized with other neighborhood groups.”

“sông2sea folks tirelessly work to maintain the traditions of their people as Vietnamese cultural diaspora. They build education programs for youth so their traditions of support and resistance for oppressed people can live on!”

Nominated by: Bruce Le, supporter; Meilani Mandery, community member; Johnny Mao, community member; Mathilde Xiao, supporter; Yoona Lee, study group member; Allyson Levy, supporter; Kyle, supporter; Tanya Nguyen, partner;

A close-up headshot of a woman with black hair and red lipstick, smiling.

Diep Shippen/Blue Poppy Floral, Wedgewood. “I have personally seen Diep help numerous neighbors in varying ways. She has become the center of our business district and is a joy to be around. She creates beauty and adds so much to our neighborhood. She meets many people at her shop and then if she meets someone in need she will share it with our social justice group so we can support them. She spreads information that helps others. Even though we are new friends she remembers what’s happening in my family and follows up with me to make sure we are all ok. She is a kind person who has been in Wedgwood for 40 years and endured many years of exclusion and racism early on and has told us many tales of this yet still is committed to Wedgwood being a wonderful place to live and continues to have hope and create joy. Her adult children work with her at her shop, which to me shows how much they respect her and are happy to be around to help her out.”

Nominated by: Anne Viggiano, customer/neighbor.

A logo with a round turquoise and black graphic with Indigenous imagery next to black text that says "Chief Seattle Club."

Chief Seattle Club, Pioneer Square. “It is the only place we have to go when we’re hungry, cold, need to talk, need spiritual guidance. Or even our rent paid or to keep our homes.”

Nominated by: Shasta, client.

Headshot of a Black woman with red lipstick, gold earrings, and a yellow collard shirt.

Empowering Youth and Families Outreach, Rainier Valley. “They have been providing service to youth and families in the community for the past 20 years. They serve over 300 families a year fulfilling their mission to make a lifelong impact in the lives of youth by offering a multifaceted program that raises up resilient youth and empowers them to achieve their dreams.”

Nominated by: John Shoecraft, supporter.

A group of children collecting backpacks and supplies at a back-to-school supply giveaway

Samona Burleson, Rainier Valley. “Samona Burleson is a rockstar. She founded Gifts of Hope which provides massive assistance to communities that have limited access to resources. Samuela has a Christmas adoption program and hosts a back-to-school event that provides school supplies, backpacks, coats, and a variety of other relevant school items. She connects our communities with housing, medical, food, clothing, and healthcare resources. She proactively engages communities to meet the needs of individuals and families. Her contributions to our area are so vast, that it is difficult to list them all.”

Nominated by: Maggie Miranda, acquaintance

A person standing with their back to camera and wearing safety gears works at a table next to a variety of tools hanging on a peg wall.

Capitol Hill Tool Library, Capitol Hill. “The tool library provides the space and tools to tackle home projects, start your garden, mend your clothes, and fix appliances. It is also a friendly place to meet neighbors and learn new skills. Whether you are attending the monthly mending club or learning a new skill like woodworking at a workshop, you always get to connect with friendly faces from around the neighborhood.”

Nominated by: Natasha Riveron, volunteer

The rear of a hatchback vehicle open and filled with large packages of bottled water and a cooler.

Single Spark, citywide. “They support neighbors regularly”

Nominated by: Jesse

A close-up of a woman's freckled face with green eyes, a septum piercing, long earrings, and curls cascading down around her face.

Lashanna Williams/A Sacred Passing/Antares Wellness, South Park. “Lashanna is an incredible healer and community builder. She has led many of the efforts here in South Park around food security during the peak of the pandemic. She is constantly thinking about ways to create a more just and loving community. She has led the heart of the South Park Market – you might have seen her on the corner in her T-Rex costume flagging in passersby. She is a leader and a truth teller- she calls injustice when she sees it. Not only do I have the pleasure of sharing a fence with Lashanna but her healing hands and herbs are home to any and all she chooses to touch with her healing strength. She leads A Sacred Passing and allows people with no safe place to die, a refuge in her home. She is tender and a caretaker. If anyone deserves to be seen for their continued outpouring of love- it’s Lashanna.”

Nominated by: Anjilee Dodge, neighbor/friend.

Headshot of a Black man with tight buzzed hair smiling and wearing a blue/gray polo shirt with a nametag that reads "Mark Bryant Certified Exercise Therapist"

Mark Bryant, Rainier Valley. “Mark Bryant brings acts of kindness daily to twelve seniors at this Senior Center. He brings humor, fun, line dancing, and fitness to seniors who are on walkers, recovering from falls, and facing cognitive decline. He does not allow his visual impairment and hip operation recovery to stop him from riding the bus to the center. He knows the seniors are relying on him for fitness but more so to find and see friends.”

Nominated by: Minnie Collins, fitness student

Olubayo Johnson, Central District. “Olubayo has managed to hold on to one of the few remaining Black properties in the Central District – despite numerous offers by white realtors and potential buyers for her to sell. She lived in the CD when it was a majority Black neighborhood and courageously stands firm in her belief that the Central District should house our people in our community. Living near 23rd Avenue and Jackson Street in the ’70s, all of her neighbors were Black. Today, most of them are white. In the 1970s, more than 73 percent of the Central District’s residents were Black. Today, it’s fewer than 15 percent. The white population has climbed to nearly 60 percent. Living on a fixed income with property taxes going up every year, her home still maintains that neighborhood feel and she offers me black-eyed peas, bread pudding, and greens and cornbread every time she cooks.”

Nominated by: Kathya Alexander, friend/neighbor.

A woman with a purple floral shirt standing in a greenhouse full of small plant starts.

Sally Ditzler and Kathryn Crandall with Neighbor Sally’s Nursery, Rainier Valley. “Sally Ditzler and Kathryn Crandall are friends and neighbors who share a love of gardening. Kathryn had a greenhouse on her property from the previous owner and it was severely underutilized. What better thing for two gardeners to do but start planting and building a business together? They gave it the name Neighbor Sally’s Greenhouse and they were off! The business is long gone, but the neighbors still have an annual event asking their neighbors to join them in building their gardens. The team has a system for collecting seeds, getting donations of pots and soil, and cultivating seed starts to share with everyone who would like to have them. Their annual “sales” are the highlight of Spring. Three years ago, they contacted Rainier Valley Food Bank (RVFB) and asked if we’d be interested in donations from their plant giveaway. We enthusiastically joined the partnership. So far the group has raised $7000 for RVFB! This year Kathryn was not able to steward the program so RVFB stepped in and found a neighbor to take her place and keep the program running. The seedlings are free for a donation of any kind to the food bank–including food!

This is a true example of community building around a common cause. These neighbors have collapsed the distinction between socio-economic groups by making gardening accessible to everyone in their neighborhood and by sharing their generosity with the Food Bank. We have also sent seed starts home with our food bank patrons to show how to build resiliency by growing your own food. I hope you see fit to acknowledge these fantastic neighbors and their wonderful greenhouse.”

Nominated by: Julia Smiljanic, supporter

Claudia Seeley Pettis, Arbor Heights. “During the pandemic, Claudia had the idea to invite a different food truck into our neighborhood every week. This had the dual benefit of supporting small local businesses that were struggling while giving neighbors a break from cooking and allowing them to see each other safely outside. We still have food truck gatherings twice each month! They are a great community-building experience. Claudia also organizes periodic cleanups on Arroyo Beach that remove trash, clear debris, and create a safe pathway to access the beach. This brings community members together for a day of hard work and fun conversations and leaves our common environment more enjoyable for all. Claudia is a neighborhood treasure!”

Nominated by: Janel Lardizabal, neighbor

A Black woman wearing a yellow dress and heals stands in front of a sign with painted fern leaves and text that reads "Mama I MADE it!"

Stephanie Selarom/Made Space Seattle, Central District. “She is creating a space for people in the community to come together. She has reasonable pricing and always opens her doors to people who have a vision for what they want to create in the space. She is passionate about what she does and it’s a beautiful thing to see.”

“This is such an inspirational space and Stephanie’s goal is to concentrate on highlighting and supporting fellow small businesses with a focus on BIPOC. This place is a welcoming space for all”

“Stephanie has a unique way of forming and bringing the community together. Her business space is welcoming and the diversity of activities and programs she offers are profound and needed in the community.”

“Made Space is an awesome place I am able to host my training where I am able to teach other women a skill they can make income for themselves. Stephanie set the rate super affordable, unlike the hotels I used to rent from, which take most of my profits. I love the energy in made space and how comfortable my clients feel when they take my training.”

Nominated by: Chi Love, business associate; Brittany Sluyter, small business owner; Chauntel Amos, supporter; Jasmine Jackson, neighbor; Takiyah Miller, patron; Natalia, supporter; Eamybell Lee, client; Alisha Bee, supporter; Jody Thongoulay, customer;

A woman standing and holding flowers outside a building with gray siding and lettering that reads "Highland Park Corner Store."

Highland Park Corner Store, Highland Park. “Meaghan Haas, the owner of Highland Park Corner Store (HPCS), has created a gathering place for our neighborhood, which we didn’t have before. Meaghan renovated an ex-mini-mart and started something new: a coffee shop, grocery store, sandwich shop, ice cream shop, food truck Thursdays, and special event hub! It’s always exciting to hear what Meaghan comes up with – for example, her baked potato bar for St. Patrick’s Day or a dog costume contest for Halloween! HPCS is the heart of the neighborhood and Meaghan and her staff are always super friendly and welcoming to all.

Nominated by: Alex DuVall, neighbor

A woman wearing workout clothes posing in front of a large sign that says "Friends of Waterfront Seattle."

Isabel A Martinez, countywide. “Isabel A. Martinez is a fitness professional, she has volunteered and collaborated with her knowledge on wellness and health for organizations like YMCA, Sea Mar, and the American Heart Association. During the pandemic, she continued motivating people to keep active for physical and mental health, teaching free classes online and being part of a public health program of King County (En confianza y en comunidad). After the pandemic, she still gives in-person free yoga and meditation classes in Spanish for the Latin community. She is part of “Exercise is Medicine” a global movement of the American College of Sport and Medicine and a member of
She is a mom and a strong Latina. She loves her profession and always is there to help to promote the physical and mental health in our communities.”

Nominated by: Gildardo Gonzalez, husband

H.O.P.E. Center Resources, Central District. “This organization is all about helping those in need. No questions asked! They probably hygiene bags to five shelters monthly and daily to those on the streets. And is owned and operated solely by a Black woman.”

Nominated by: Tiffanie Toms, Director

A man and woman with arms around each other stand in their gallery with art hanging on the wall and on shelves in the background.

Nepantla Gallery, White Center. “Jake and Judy use their space to lift up countless other artists in the community as well as provide classes, workshops, free art days for kids, etc. They not only impact our neighborhood with their great art and retail shop, they have a constant rotation of art from the community hanging on their walls for themed exhibits. They encourage all ages and skill levels to apply to be in the shows. They host workshops, informational meetings about local events, field trips for school groups and tons of other events. They’ve partnered with many organizations to bring art to more people. Our neighborhood is better for having them here.”

Nominated by: Sara McMahon, patron

Two woman, one blonde and one with dark hair standing close together at the end of a bar.

Katy Knauff/Kamp Social House, Madison Park. “Katy has created a space for local businesses and neighbors to come together. Kamp has become the hub for local PTA meetings, queer collective meetings, merchant association gatherings, and more. It has quickly become a space where the community gathers.”

Nominated by: Marceil Van Camp, spouse.

A Black woman wearing her police uniform stands at a table between two young children playing chess.

Detective “Cookie” Bouldin, Rainier Beach/Southeast Seattle. “Detective Cookie has served four decades of service with the Seattle Police Department, connecting daily with the Southeast Seattle community, especially our youth. She formed the Detective Cookie Chess Club (formerly Rainier Beach Youth) almost two decades ago inspired the creation of the Detective Cookie Chess Park, an outdoor chess park for all, inaugurated in 2022, in the heart of Rainier Beach. Detective Cookie is a role model for police work that prevents crime by inspiring and mentoring young people, many of whom have developed into community leaders themselves. She also hosts free, all-age chess instruction and practice on Saturdays at the Rainier Beach Community Center and organizes chess scholarships, free chess sets, internships, and jobs for our young people.”

Nominated by: Patricia Killam, volunteer for Detective Cookie Chess Club/Park

View of a ceiling of a room with a round window looking up to a blue sky with a glass door on the wall below.

Max Liebowitz, Central District. “Mr. Max Liebowitz, Owner of the Valley Building (Madrona Company) constructed an innovative mixed-use building in the spring of 2018 in the Central District. It sits at the corner of MLK, Jr. Way & Union Street. It is now basically a landmark in the revitalized neighborhood. Mr. Liebowitz and Company have provided permanent and affordable housing in this 40-unit Leed-constructed building. He has invested in beautiful plant-lined sidewalks and an open and affirming environment for their tenants. The first floor has commercial space that provides the CD with public and needed services. The dental office does a brisk business and a woman/minority-owned market and cafe. One other business, The Postman, is a family-operated and minority-owned mailbox and shipping business. Late last year, The Postman’s owner was killed in a widely reported attack. Mr. Liebowitz and the Valley Building provided much-appreciated support as this business observed a period of mourning. It is clear the community support allowed for this neighborhood service enabled them to reopen with relative ease. This tragedy occurred as COVID continued and it could have contributed to the business’s demise. One can rightly assume that this company’s kindness helped to prevent this small business from closing. Finally, it goes without saying that the Valley Building management provided timely information about the COVID pandemic, showing care and concern for its tenants and their guests and families.”

Nominated by: Laura Van Tosh, tenant

Janet Braun and Brian Cook, Jefferson County. “These neighbors go all out within the neighborhood and families. They don’t hesitate to jump into things and just get involved to bring about an ‘all or nothing’ attitude modeling the behaviors they would want the rest of us to follow.”

Nominated by: Mrs. JL Weidner Jr., neighbor

Alganesh (Ana) Tewelde, Chinatown International District. “Alganesh (Ana) distributes the print issue of the International Examiner (IE) with a handcart walking business to business. I connected with her after seeing her tend a ginkgo tree outside her building that “the city was neglecting”. She was watering it with her own recycled laundry detergent bottle. She’s an active community member (although she doesn’t recognize that she is). During the pandemic, she also was helping distribute weekly groceries from Interim CDA to her neighbors. She goes above and beyond to ensure that the IE paper gets delivered to businesses that aren’t on our distribution list, and is a friendly and familiar face around the neighborhood.”

Nominated by: Carmen Hom, neighbor

Two pre-k aged children stand at a Lemonade stand with a large container of lemonade and colorful decorations.

Pre-K Classroom, The Children’s Center at Burke Gilman Gardens, Sandpoint. “I am nominating the Pre-K classroom at The Children’s Center at Burke Gilman Gardens for their volunteer work and community service to our neighborhood. In response to the COVID pandemic, the children and families in our Pre-K classroom started a Little Free Pantry and Little Free Library outside our building for the Community Roots housing complex and surrounding Sandpoint neighborhood.

For the past two years, our Pre-K children have kept our Little Free Pantry and Little Free Library well-stocked for our neighbors. The children have done everything from donating vegetables they grow in our school’s plot at the Burke Gilman P-Patch garden to hosting a Lemonade Stand and Food Drive in which they collected over 30 lbs of food and raised $350 to purchase food for the Free Pantry! The children also regularly donate their own books to the Little Free Library and they spend time each week restocking the pantry and library. They are a great example of how even our youngest neighbors can perform small acts of kindness to support their communities!”

Nominated by: Jennifer Kelty, Executive Director of The Children’s Center at Burke Gilman Gardens

Brianna McNealley, Ravenna. “Very sweet neighbor. Put on amazing bonfires with amazing party apps., always willing to share resources and help out”

Nominated by: Jamilah Fields, neighbor

A red tray holding three plates, one large and two smaller, with an array of homecooked food.

Robert Kogane and Patty Grazini, Bitter Lake. “When we bought our first home in Bitter Lake in October 2020, we could not have imagined the luck we had in terms of new neighbors. Robert and Patty stood out by welcoming us, sharing delicious food, having us over for dinner, and even helping with wedding preparations for our backyard celebration. When my husband’s father passed away, they brought over the most beautifully prepared homemade meal. My husband and I both grew up in small towns in the Midwest and have missed the sense of care and community while living in big cities. As long-term Seattleites, Robert and Patty stand out as exceptional neighbors and community members. We hope you will honor them with this recognition.”

Nomination by: Kathryn Grubbs, neighbor

Headshot of an older white male with gray hair a white button up shirt and a brown suit coat.

Tom Graff, Belltown. “Tom Graff is a well-known community leader. Throughout the pandemic, as graffiti and tagging became out of control, he led work parties of Belltown residents to paint over it. He has contacted me several times to join him in tackling a building that was tagged less than 12 hours after we painted it. He has recruited many building owners and residents to ‘adopt’ an empty building so that they remove the tags quickly and makes the neighborhood look better. Each fall, I join other volunteers in planting spring bulbs along Bell Street from 1st to 5th Avenues, which Tom also organizes.”

Nominated by: Tracy Roberts, friend

Toni Hartsfield, Beacon Hill. “Toni Hartsfield is an absolute saint. When one of our elder neighbors fell in his home, she spent many, many days helping to clean up his house so he could return to a safe environment. She also helped in the efforts to locate his family, who he had not seen since World War II started. Another neighbor has had many, many health issues over the past five years, Toni, while working full time and caring for her own two sons, cared for this neighbor with compassion. Toni was there to let the firemen in whenever the neighbor fell and had to call 911, she followed through and made sure the neighbor was safe, she and her husband prepared meals for this woman for years. Toni sometimes even tucked my ill, lonely neighbor into bed at night. She took such loving care of this neighbor. Recently, this neighbor fell and broke her shoulder and her knee, and had to be moved out of her home. Toni coordinated the whole neighborhood to help out. She is one of those neighbors who sees a need and steps in to help without a second thought. She is one of the most giving people I know.”

Nominated by: Judi Johnson, neighbor

A man with a gray goatee and a woman with short light brown hair leaning together and smiling.

Vivian Zirk, Fremont. “She ‘rocks’ the parks. She paints rocks and hides them in local parks for children to find. She does Valentine’s Day rocks, St. Patrick’s Day rocks, Halloween rocks, etc. She then posts in our neighborhood groups letting us know which parks have been rocked and gives the date and time for kids to find them. My son LOVES this and we are always the first out looking, we have now bumped into her many times and she has even taken requests from my son on what he wants painted on the rocks (pokemon of course!). She also has a medical lending library of crutches, a wheelchair, casts, braces, and other hardware insurance often doesn’t cover. She lends this out all the time to neighbors in need and stores the supplies in her garage. She is an inspiration to all of us.”

Nominated by: Jean-Marie Talvo, neighbor

Jaenie, Alder Way. “She helps when I need help she always gives me flowers and gifts”

Nominated by: Muzhgan, friend

Becky, University District. “I am nominating my wife for Neighbor Day because of her exceptional dedication to making our community a better place. Becky is always willing to help others by buying food for those in need. I believe Becky would be an excellent choice to help others.”

Nominated by: Natnael, husband

Pad, Lake Forest Park. “My neighbor is a nice person and she enjoys helping other neighbors to take care of dogs. She likes cleaning my yard every day, anytime.”

Nominated by: Zhulan, neighbor

May Chuang, Cedar Park. “She is a very empathetic person and she always likes to help people. I nominate her as our community leader.”

Nominated by: Xia Jing Huang, neighbor, friend

Bonjour Beauty Spa, Kenmore. “They are a very luxurious, prestigious beauty salon with good service”

Nominated by: Julie Truong, friend

A collage of four photographs of people picking litter up from sidewalks in a neighborhood.

Chris Tremonte, Leschi. “In 2021, Leschi resident Chris Tremonte started a monthly “adopt-a-street” litter pick. He thought picking up litter in parks and public spaces would make tangible improvements to the neighborhood in the wake of public meetings over gun violence that struggled to find concrete solutions to systemic problems. In just over two years, Chris’s litter pick has become a neighborhood fixture as it rotates between Powell Barnett Park, Pratt Park, and Jackson Street near Temple Pastries. As of April 2023, Chris’s scoreboard reads: 26 cleanup events; 792 volunteer hours; 294 bags.

Chris always has a smile and boundless energy, even as two young children keep his hands full, and motivates me to get out of bed on a Sunday morning to help make our neighborhood a better place to raise a family.”

Nominated by: Gregory Scruggs, friend.

Susan Lee Woo/Chinatown Block Watch, Chinatown International District. “Susan Lee Woo leads the Chinatown Blockwatch. She and her group have been a strong presence in the CID neighborhood, helping residents and businesses for years. She is the bridge between multiple communities within the larger community and has helped elders, young people, and visitors. The community trusts Susan and goes to her for any concerns.”

Nominated by: Tanya Woo, admirer

An older white man with thin gray hair and glasses wearing a pink button up shirt and sweater vest, smiling at the camera.

John Pehrson, South Lake Union. “John Pehrson strikes again. Ten thousand yellow daffodils have bloomed in Lake Union Park for the past two years for neighbors and residents to enjoy. His idea was embraced by the Market to Mohai organization that he has led since its inception. It involved recruiting one hundred volunteers from places like Mirabella, Google, Facebook, MOHAI, Allen Institute, and individual SLU residents to plant the bulbs. John coordinated with the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation which agreed to provide tools, gloves, fertilizer, and other tools, including donating coffee and pastry.

This effort is the most recent example of significant contributions John has made as a resident of South Lake Union. His training as a Boeing Project Engineer has been deployed tirelessly in South Lake Union for many causes during the last 15 years. Anyone active in the South Lake Union community knows John and is likely to have interacted with him. John served on the SLUCC Board for six years, including in the position of secretary, and continues to serve on the Policy and Planning Committee.

Most impressive is the respect he has earned in the community. His presence at meetings, asking the right questions, and offering wise advice is his signature. He recently testified in front of the Sound Transit Expansion Committee during the public comments period on the choice of the Denny station location. John demonstrates the power of community collaboration and the impact of an engaged community resident.”

Nominated by: Julie Holland, South Lake Union Community Council Board