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January 2014

4 goals for 2014


Happy New Year!

With a new mayoral administration and department budget, 2014 promises to be a busy year for all of us at the Seattle Human Services Department.

Beyond the "busy-ness" of overflowing calendars, however, I have challenged HSD staff to work smart and keep our highest priority in mind - serving vulnerable clients in need - so that we are as focused and productive as possible. I'd like to pass along four goals HSD has established for 2014:
  1. Launch Outcomes Framework: Begin implementing the Outcomes Framework as a strategy for results-based accountability and addressing disparities, moving our Strategic Plan into action.
  2. Strengthen Infrastructure: Increase and improve HSD's capacity through staff training and development, and clear policy guides and processes.
  3. Address Regionalism: Address the impact of regionalism in our delivery/funding of services in light of shifts in the funding landscape.
  4. Strengthen Partnerships: Cultivate and maintain key relationships and champions to support HSD and its mission.
I look forward to a successful year ahead and partnering with many of you to serve the people of Seattle and King County.

Catherine Lester
Interim Director, Seattle Human Services Department
Great things ahead for high school senior

The Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) not only provides jobs and career education for young people, it gives them a boost towards a brighter future. Aliha Strange, a senior this year at The Center School in Seattle, is a great example. 


Maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout high school, Aliha also has been involved in theater at school, performing in various plays, and has participated in National Novel Writing Month when she worked diligently to complete a 50,000 word novel within 30 days. Over the last two years, Aliha has participated in SYEP. During her first summer with the program, she worked at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center as a Program Assistant. Last summer, she completed another SYEP internship at the Seattle Municipal Court, providing support in the Facilities and Finance Department, while gaining exposure in the field of law.


Aliha's academic and personal achievements have garnered her acceptance to the following schools: 

  • Pacific Lutheran University (with a $20,000 annual scholarship)
  • Seattle Pacific University ($12,000)
  • George Fox University ($13,000)
  • Northwest University 

Aliha is excited to pursue post-secondary education at one of these colleges (or another school) and looks forward to developing her passion in creative writing and literature. 

January 20 is a Day of Service
Commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through service. Take a couple hours out of your day to volunteer on Monday, Jan. 20, to honor Dr. King's legacy. A list public projects that need volunteers is on United Way of King County's Web site. You can paint in Shoreline, install a fence in Crown Hill, or plant trees and shrubs in Delridge. Note the deadline for signing up is Friday, Jan. 17th. You can also sign up for volunteering at any time.
Op-Ed on Medicare rules

On Thursday December 26, 2013 an editorial regarding Medicare rules was published in the Seattle Times. Authored by Aging & Disability Services Advisory Council Chair Tony Provine, the piece drew on research by Doug Ricker, a planner with the Seattle Human Services Department's Aging & Disability Services division. The article can be seen here

Financial Empowerment Centers prepare to launch
The City's network of Financial Empowerment Centers is gearing up to offer free one-on-one professional financial counseling in multiple languages. The City's centers will help clients take control of their debt, deal with debt collectors, improve their credit, create a budget, find safe and affordable financial products, and much more. The centers will be fully operational by the last week of February. More information regarding hours of operation, and scheduling visits will be coming in the next newsletter. For more information please contact: Gloria Hatcher-Mays, FEC Program Manager, Seattle Human Services Department, at or 206-684-8691.
Newly hired Accountant benefitted from HSD program
The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) recently hired Abdiwali Mohamed as Principal Accountant. This is not Abdiwali's first experience at HSD. In 2000, he completed the department's Upward Bound program, which prepares high school students for post-secondary education. Abdiwali credits the program for launching his post-secondary path to success. "Upward Bound was much more than a homework assistance center," he says. While in the program, he took college level courses, SAT prep classes and visited several college campuses in Washington state and California. "If it wasn't for Upward Bound and HSD I couldn't have accomplished all that I've done," he says. "Working here now and helping fulfill the department's mission is like giving back."

His accomplishments include an undergraduate degree in accounting from Western Washington University, a Master's degree in taxation from Golden Gate University, and designation as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Previous to coming to HSD, Abdiwali worked for nine years in accounting at The Boeing Company.

Born and raised in Somalia, Abdiwali and his family came to the United States from Kenya in 1995 as refugees, settling in Seattle's Rainier Valley. He was 14 at the time and spoke only a few words of English. Perseverance, hard work and schooling at Sharples Middle School, Meany Middle School and Ballard High School, with a boost from Upward Bound, gave him the fundamentals he needed for higher education.
Abdiwali began work at HSD on January 6th.
SYEP youth wins art contest
Binh Nguyen, currently a senior at Franklin High School, is among the winners of a statewide art contest, "GATE: Ways of Expression." Binh is also a participant in the Seattle Human Services Department's Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP).

A recognition celebration will take place on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 20, 2014, in Olympia at the Capitol Rotunda.
Caregiver forum on Feb. 19th
Are you providing care for an older relative or disabled adult? Save this date! The Washington Post and AARP are holding a caregiver forum in Seattle on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 8:30-11 a.m., at the W Hotel in downtown Seattle. The agenda is still TBD but a registration link is open now.
Gaining awareness about disabilities
The Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities in partnership with the Seattle Office of Emergency Management will be hosting a disability awareness event on January 28th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the American Red Cross in Seattle. Titled "Are You Including Everyone? Addressing Service Barriers for People with Disabilities," this event seeks to inform human service providers, public educators and emergency managers about the unique strengths, capabilities and needs of the communities they serve. Space is limited. To register, please click on this link
City partners with United Way to offer FREE tax preparation
The Seattle Human Services Department and United Way of King County's Free Tax Campaign are partnering to offer free tax preparation at drop-in sites across Seattle. From January 14th to April 15th, anyone making under $52,000 a year can drop-in and have their taxes prepared for them at the Seattle Public Library, Rainier and Rainier Beach Community Centers, El Centro De la Raza, Seattle Goodwill, Lake City Neighborhood Service Center, YWCA in Greenbridge, or Phinney Neighborhood Center. To learn more this service, or to join the team as a tax preparer or benefits volunteer, visit this Web page
Parks to hold community meetings about ballot measure
Seattle Parks and Recreation will host three community meetings in January to get feedback on the work done by the Parks Legacy Citizens' Advisory Committee in preparation for a potential 2014 park and recreation funding ballot measure. The meetings will be held:
  • Thursday, January 23, International District/Chinatown Community Center, 719 8th Ave. S, at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 25, High Point Community Center, 6920 34th Ave. SW, 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 30, Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N, at 7 p.m.

For more information please visit this Web site.

Funding is available for youth arts
Youth Arts is an annual funding program that supports arts training for Seattle's middle and high school youth outside of school hours. Youth Arts provides funding for projects in all artistic disciplines led by experienced teaching artists. Artists, arts or cultural organizations, and youth service agencies are eligible applicants. Funding awards range up to $10,000. Priority is given to programs serving youth or communities with limited access to arts and culture. The deadline for applications is Feb. 4, 2014. For more information, please visit this Web site
Learn more about Neighborhood Matching Fund
The Neighborhood Matching Fund, a program of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, is hosting the last of three workshops for those interested in applying to the Small and Simple Projects Fund on February 3. The Small and Simple Projects Fund provides matching awards of up to $25,000 to neighborhood groups for community-building projects. The final workshop will be held Thursday, January 23; 6 - 8 p.m., at Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave S. To RSVP, call 206-733-9916 or go online. For more information, please visit this Web site.
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Life Lines is published monthly by the City of Seattle's Human Service Department. Our mission is to connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work and take part in strong, healthy communities. For more timely or breaking news, visit our blog, Human Interests, or visit our Web site. If you have questions, please e-mail David Takami or call 206-684-0253.

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