Winter/Spring 2010
Vol 2, Issue 2

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Envision eNews

Last issue, we asked you to take a short survey.  Thanks to you, we received fantastic feedback - and now we're acting on it!

You told us you want to hear how AL and ALY grads are putting their leadership skills to work - and you want to know about opportunities for YOU to do the same.

This issue's articles are all about the great work happening in our AL community.  If you have a story to share, let us know! As requested, we are adding information on ways you can take action in the Federal Way area.  Check out the link to the city's volunteer alliance, and look for more ways to get involved in upcoming issues.

Together, we're making things happen!

Teri Hickel
Executive Director
Quick Links
Challenging the Process: AL Participant Responds to Haiti Crisis

Crisis can draw people together - even when it's a crisis thousands of miles away.

Jodi SutcliffJodi Sutcliff, AL '10, is a teacher at Sequoyah Middle School here in Federal Way.  Her students wanted to do something significant and tangible to help Haiti.  The solution was H2O 2 HAITI, a class project to collect clean drinking water for disaster victims.  "We have a giant thermometer with our goal near the pyramid of water being collected. So far we are at 501 containers," Jodi explains.  "The kids are VERY excited about this project . . . to help others in our world."


One of the key leadership practices that Advancing Leadership teaches is 'challenging the process.'  Jodi had a chance to put her AL training to work with H2O 2 HAITI.  When she contacted World Vision about shipping the water, she learned that sending the heavy containers all the way from Federal Way to Haiti was not the most practical way to get clean water to those who needed it.   She quickly realized that a new approach was needed to make this project a success - and she knew she'd need help to find that approach.


Jodi contacted Joan Mussa, a World Vision Senior Vice President and mother of two Advancing Leadership Youth participants, with her dilemma.  Joan helped Jodi find a solution that helps even more people: World Vision will distribute the water domestically and provide a comparable contribution to Haiti on behalf of the H2O 2 HAITI project.


To learn more and contribute to Sequoyah Middle School's H2O 2 HAITI, contact Jodi at [email protected] or (253) 945-3875.

Envisioning the Future: ALY Grad Takes His Next Leadership Challenge

Christian DawsonChristian Dawson, ALY '08 and a senior at Christian Faith School in Federal Way, has been accepted into the Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Initiative.  He joins 53 other students from Washington and Oregon who were accepted for the 2010 program.  Act Six "connects urban ministries and faith-based colleges in order to equip emerging urban leaders to engage the college campus and their communities at home".  Christian is currently attending a year-long, pre-college leadership program with a group of students who will attend Northwestern University with him this fall.  They will continue to work together and receive leadership training on-campus.  In addition, Act Six will fund Christian's tuition all four years.

Christian credits his Advancing Leadership Youth experience with significant personal growth that helped prepare him for the challenges he will face in Act Six and in college.  "ALY has taught me so many valuable life skills that looking back I can see evident in my life today. I learned how to be a good communicator, present myself, work with other people, and of course strong leadership. I learned really who I was during my time in ALY. As I became confident and comfortable in myself, I was able to understand and better lead others."

Since his completion of the ALY program, Christian has returned every year to either help facilitate a day or simply provide encouragement to the new class.  He is also the top spokeperson at his school.

"My school is in its third year of being a part of ALY. The students all know that it exists . . . it is becoming a sought out program to be a part of and represent CFS in it."

And how does the Act Six program compare to ALY?  "It was ironic when I started the program because it is a lot like ALY. There is leadership training, projects, speakers, etc. Besides the relief of college being mostly paid for and great training, I am excited for the lasting relationships. The program puts a lot of emphasis on building a community of scholars. Instead of just sending kids to school they work to train them but also give them a support team of friends to go in together."

Advancing Leadership congratulates Christian on his continued commitment to community leadership.

For more information on Act Six, visit
Modeling the Way: AL Alums Firsthand Experience Inspires Others

Nothing inspires and authenticates vision like hearing it "from the source."  Two Advancing Leadership grads take this to heart, urging others to travel on paths they themselves have walked.


Gaylen FloyGaylen Floy, AL '08, teaches computer skills to students who have limited sight.  Gaylen - who was born vision-impaired but not diagnosed until she was 21 - is committed to helping others with similar challenges connect to training and services, share ideas and become active participants in their communities.


One way she encourages others to engage at a deeper level is through involvement in a community leadership program.  In December 2009, Gaylen published her article "Seeing Federal Way in a New Light" in the Washington Council for the Blind's quarterly newsletter.  The article describes her experiences in Advancing Leadership and urged readers to consider similar training.  


"The purpose of the article is to encourage other people with vision-impairment to get involved and connect," she explains.  That's how we'll change people's perception of what it means to be blind. That's the way barriers will come down." A big part of Gaylen's philosophy is moving out of comfort zones in order to grow.  AL was one of her leaps, and she hopes her example will encourage others to give it a try.  "It was a very positive experience," she says.  "My computer students get to hear about AL and Federal Way.  It encourages them to consider volunteer work back home." 


To read Gaylen Floy's article online, visit the Washington Council of the Blind's website:


Ron PodmoreRon Podmore, AL '01, teaches American Sign Language (ASL) and Applied Math courses at Decatur High School.  He recently stepped up to a new level in his own education, becoming the first ASL teacher with hearing loss to earn National Board certification.


Throughout his career, Ron has sought new challenges for himself, then used the knowledge he has gained to help others. In his classes at Decatur, he is able to incorporate his own experiences with hearing loss into instruction of ASL students.  He has also written two books - Signs in Success: Profiles of Deaf Americans (1995) and A Sign to Remember (2004). He was a 1999 Golden Apple award recipient.  In addition to being a National Board certified instructor, Ron is a certified K-12 Licensed School Administrator.  It was during his year of principal internship for that certification that Federal Way Superintendent Tom Murphy recommended he join Advancing Leadership.


"I enjoyed being a part of the early cadre when AL was just getting started," he says.  "It is remarkable how the program is still very strong and active and components of it are now duplicated in several other municipalities across our great nation.  I came away with the experience that there needs to be a commitment to helping those who request it. The spirit and commitment of helping others is something that is sometimes not always as observable (elsewhere) as it is in our area, but nonetheless, it is a component in our lives."

To see Ron Podmore's video about the value of National Board Certification visit this link on the WEA website:

Inspire a Shared Vision: ALY Participants Win MLK Jr. Essay Contest
aly corsica

aly jevoy
Advancing Leadership Youth is proud to share that two of it's current program participants,  Corsica Parker and Jevoy Palmer, ALY '10, recently received recognition for their winning essay entries in the City of Federal Way's 2010 Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest. Jevoy took first place at the high school level, and Corsica tied for second place.

Read more about them, and the celebration at:

ALY '10 is hard at work on their class project, and preparing for graduation on April 19th.  Look for details on their project in the next issue of Envision, and encourage your favorite high school student to apply NOW for the ALY 2010-2011 class!
New Lunch Sponsor: East India Grill

East India Grill has joined Advancing Leadership as our newest lunch sponsor.  Owner Kabal Gill and his team provided succulent Indian fare for AL's January program day.    East India Grill is located at 31845 Gateway Center Blvd. S.  Hours of operation, menu descriptions and more can be viewed at


Would you like to support the Federal Way Chamber's community leadership program as a lunch sponsor?  Contact Advancing Leadership's Executive Director Teri Hickel at (253) 838-2605 or [email protected].

Know Someone Who's Ready for AL or ALY?  Applications Are Available for the 2010-11 Classes:

     Download AL 2011 app      ALY 11 app link

                   Adult App Deadline: 5/21/10               See Youth App for Deadline

Advancing Leadership is proud of our premier sponsors:

Comcast Foundation logo        FWPS       Weyhaeuser

 City of FW       Highline CC        St. Francis Hospital        Multi-Service Center