I continue to be inspired by the young adults in our community especially after chatting with Sarah Raza last week. At only 17 years old, she is really making a difference and has the makings to be a leader in the future.
Sarah lives with her family in Woodinville and just started her senior year at Redmond High School (school district boundaries dictated that).
She said she has always enjoyed history classes and attributes that to her love of reading. “With History what you read is true and about our past,” Sarah said. She chuckled when she added that she is enjoying math now as well and that stemmed from taking a Calculus class. I chuckled as well saying that is when many people likely start to dislike math!
Puget Sound area Student Leaders at the Washington D.C. summit from left to right: Sarah Raza, Madeleine Brown, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Winter Holmgren and Youri Babakoff. (Courtesy photo)At school she’s active with the Debate team and is the president for this upcoming school year. In Debate she focuses on the individual events and has attended state in the past for her Oratory, Impromptu, and IR (Interpretive Reading) categories.
Sarah is also Senior Class Treasurer this year and has been part of student government throughout her high school years.
And if those accolades weren’t enough for this bright young lady, in March of 2017 she started a nonprofit organization called Aware. Aware’s mission is to embrace students with special needs. By that she hopes to remove the stigma against students with special needs and include them in day-to-day activities in school that may be taken for granted. She wants the entire student population to be able to participate in activities as simple as eating lunch amongst friends to attending prom.
Sarah’s personal story for creating Aware stemmed from helping a friend babysit her sister who suffered from severe autism. What started out as a one day experiment turned into a full summer of fun spending time with the two girls and coming away with a completely different mindset and new understanding of the numerous obstacles that kids with special needs have to overcome.
Aware is branching out to other schools as well and there is a chapter in both Bothell and Newport at this time. She’s hopeful to get other schools involved with chapters of their own in the future. To help that along, Aware was recently awarded one of the top six T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge Winners and will receive a financial contribution as well as valuable advice from T-Mobile’s legal, marketing, and financial teams.
I asked Sarah about her motivation to give back and get involved. She said, “I have always been a very active volunteer.” She credits her Muslim faith and being involved in the mosque for that foundation. “Helping the community is something that has always been done,” she added. It should be noted that Sarah has also volunteered at the Pacific Science Center, Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, and at the Autism Resource Center in Rawalpindi Pakistan.
I was introduced to Sarah by the management team at Bank of America following her internship this summer.
According to Bank of America Market Executive, Kim Vu, Sarah was part of the “dream team” chosen for Bank of America’s Student Leaders eight-week, paid internship program, which helps develop the next generation of local leaders by recognizing community-minded high school students and connecting them to employment, professional development and service opportunities.
This summer she worked with Special Olympics Washington on a number of different projects from helping put on this year’s USA Games to research and writing to learning the general operations of a nonprofit. During the USA Games she said, “I interviewed some amazing athletes then we posted their stories on social media.”
Sarah Raza (Courtesy photo)Sarah is so proud that she had the chance to be involved in the Bank of America Student Leadership internship. “It was by far the best summer program I have ever done,” she said. She felt it was a great experience with real life work and the networking was tremendous.
She learned about the internship through her school’s website on the career center page. Sarah emphasized that it was a perfect fit for her since it involved community service and nonprofit involvement plus getting paid was a bonus.
In the future, college is definitely on the horizon but she’s not sure where she’ll end up yet. She thinks UW is fantastic and her sister is a student there. She’s also applying at Occidental College in LA along with all the Ivy League schools. Acceptance and financial aid will help make the final decision. When the time comes, she’ll pass the reigns for Aware to another student but will stay on as an advisor.
I asked if she had any final thoughts to give to other students that wanted to get involved and she said “Remember that every little bit helps.”
Sarah has done more than a little bit and I’m grateful for students like her that are getting involved every day in making our schools and the community a little better.
For more information:
Aware – visit awarenonprofit.org
Internship – visit Bankofamerica.com/StudentLeadership
Applications will be due this fall and are open to students in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
After 28 years of service, Mike Millman retired from his position as Station Captain at Everett Fire Department in February of this year. He is far from done serving the public, however, having recently been appointed as a new Woodinville Fire & Rescue Board of Fire Commissioner.
As a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners, he’ll meet with fellow commissioners at Headquarters Fire Station 31. This board oversees all budget and policy decisions for the District.
Each member of the Board of Fire Commissioners is typically elected by the citizens and serves a 6-year term although Millman was appointed to the board after a member resigned when he moved from the district. Members receive a minimal stipend for their services. Other Board of Fire Commissioner Members include: Roger Collins, Derek van Veen, Jim Dorney, and Tim Osgood.
The appointment is so new that prior to press time Mike hadn’t yet attended his first meeting but will do so on September 11th. He has already participated in his first “official duty” however when he volunteered to flip pancakes at the recent Woodinville Fire & Rescue Pancake Breakfast during the Celebrate Woodinville events in August.
I met with Mike and his lovely wife of 21 years last week at their beautiful home in Woodinville. From the accompanying photo, you’ll probably recognize Mike’s wife Michelle as an anchor for KIRO 7 news.
Mike became interested in a career as a firefighter when he was in high school, and his dad was dating a female firefighter in Seattle. He was attracted to the job aspect of helping people, the bonding he witnessed among the firefighters, and the physical aspect of the job. A few years later, he had a neighbor that had just become a firefighter, and his interest was reignited. That neighbor became his mentor in the process to become a firefighter, and the rest they say is history.
“I loved the camaraderie of the fire department,” said Millman. He added that he loved helping people and making a difference. That is what attracted him to the job so many years ago.
He admitted that their station was very busy though and that a fair amount of stress accompanied the job. Millman said, “I don’t miss the sleep deprivation.”
Following retirement, Mike took some much needed time off “to decompress” as Michelle noted. But when the opportunity to join the Fire Board presented itself, he jumped at it. He’s happy to give back to the Woodinville community that has been so good to his family. “I think they [Board of Fire Commissioners] are doing a fantastic job,” he said.
He’s already been working with the staff and is looking forward to getting involved in the meetings and workshops.
The Fire Chief from the Everett Fire Department, David DeMarco, said of Millman, “He was a great employee, and we have all wished him well in his retirement years. I’m happy to hear he is still leading a life of service in his own community. He brings years of expertise and will be a valuable member of your Fire Board.”
Mike bought his home in Woodinville in 1992, and Michelle joined him when they married. He loves the location and that it is close to the mountains, water, work, and town. Plus he said, “the people are great.” Michelle added, “It is not a big city, and we are really part of a community.”
Together the couple have two boys. Jake will be beginning his sophomore year at the University of Washington while Luke will be a senior at Ingelmoor High School. Mike and Michelle both praised the Northshore School District, and they are grateful for the opportunities it has provided.
Michelle wrapped things up by saying how proud she was of Mike. By continuing to serve the community and giving back. “He’s one of the smartest people I know,” she added.
I think Woodinville is lucky to have Mike along with his passion and experience serving the community as a new member of the Board of Fire Commissioners.
For more information about the Woodinville Fire & Rescue and the Fire Commissioners, visit http://wf-r.org/
Chances are that even if you haven’t attended a Cirque du Soleil show, you’ve heard about their shows. A golden opportunity to experience the excitement of Cirque de Soleil close to home is only days away!
The company started in 1984 with their first production and since then more than 180 million spectators have seen a Cirque du Soleil show. In 2017, close to 10 million spectators alone attended! Not only that, but the company (headquartered in Montreal) employees 4,000 people worldwide that represent more than 50 nationalities and speak 25 different languages.
Las Vegas is likely the easiest place to catch a Cirque du Soleil show with seven currently playing at various hotels on the strip. But fortunately here for us on the Eastside, there are touring shows and “Volta” happens to be starting this weekend at Marymoor Park.
Putting together a show of the scale and magnitude of Volta and setting up the “Big Top” and Cirque du Soleil village is no easy task. Just to begin to set up at a show site, 72 trailer trucks carry close to 2,000 tons of equipment.
Erecting the Big Top alone took 60 men and women pushing more than 100 supporting poles to raise the canvas in place last week. The results can be seen from a distance with the Volta Big Top being able to seat more than 2,500 people. Furthermore, it is anchored in place by 500 or so stakes and can withstand winds up to 75 mph (120 km).
The show itself, as do most Cirque du Soleil productions, follows an elaborate and mysterious storyline with incredible acrobats performing amazing feats of strength and flexibility coupled with a musical score than enhances every move on stage. Moments of “wow” and “oh my gosh” from the audience replace normal dialog for the night.
The storyline for Volta is described as follows:
VOLTA is a story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and recognizing one’s own power to make it possible. Ultimate freedom comes with self-acceptance, and with the liberation of the judgment of others.
Waz, a gameshow contestant that has lost touch with himself. He’s ashamed of who he is because of his difference. Follow him as he enters the show in search of fame, thinking that this will bring him love and acceptance from others. What he will find is something else. That fame is not the answer. If fame doesn’t provide freedom and acceptance, then what does? Will WAZ reconnect with his true self – and stand up for all that makes him truly unique? Will he realize that his difference is what makes him extraordinary?
Having attended many Cirque du Soleil shows over the years, I am looking forward to being amazed yet again!
Volta - Under the Big Top King County’s Marymoor Park
(6046 West Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE, Redmond, WA 98052)
Volta runs from September 7, 2018 - November 4, 2018
Tickets start at $39
Cancer affects so many of us both directly and indirectly. It leaves us with feelings of helplessness, fear, and frustration. Do we trust the initial diagnosis, or do we search out a second opinion? Should we choose the recommended treatment, or do we search for alternatives?
Ryan Sternagel and Teddy Guss Sternagel, both graduates from Woodinville High School in 2003, were faced with these questions and so many more. You see, five years ago, they welcomed a son, Ryder, into the world. Just before his first birthday, they discovered he had cancer. He was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma-a childhood cancer of the nervous system. Ryder had a tumor larger than his kidney growing inside and out of his spinal canal as well as two secondary tumors, all of which had metastasized into his bones. In an instant, their lives were changed. The doctors told the Sternagels that Ryder would have to undergo chemotherapy immediately.
Chemotherapy treatment began on Ryder here in Washington while his parents continued to research other options for a cure and his wellbeing. Ryan and Teddy consulted with naturopathic doctors, cancer coaches, and health experts all over the world to employ an integrative approach that minimized the amount of conventional treatment Ryder received through a mix of super nutrition, targeted supplementation, energy medicine and healthy lifestyle practices. This included providing Ryder with supplements that they gave him through an NG feeding tube as well as bringing a juicer into his hospital room and providing food for Ryder.
Miraculously and very fortunately, Ryder’s tumor shrunk faster than anyone expected. Ryan states, “We were able to avoid virtually all other conventional medicines and procedures that usually come with chemotherapy, and his overall appearance and energy levels were much more vibrant than the other kids in the oncology ward.”
The next MRI revealed even more progress and after four rounds of chemotherapy and four months since his diagnosis, the Sternagels made the decision to stop chemotherapy halfway through the conventional protocol. This decision was not taken lightly nor easily made.
This also prompted a move to Utah. Why Utah? Ryan explained, “We were not seeing eye to eye with hospital, and the hospital wasn’t open to hearing input from us.” They knew they had to make a change and researched many options. “The facility in Utah seemed to be the best option for us. It was more laid back. They [Doctors] were much more open to making decisions together.” Ultimately, they agreed to a wait and see approach verses continued chemotherapy.
It should be noted that Ryder continues to be under the care of an oncologist and closely monitored with MRI’s and labs.
Rather than congratulating themselves on escaping a tragedy and then returning to their pre-diagnosis life, they decided to begin sharing their journey and provide information to others who have a child with cancer.
Ryan and Teddy knew how hard it had been for them find paths to alternative options since most available literature focused on adult cancer. Their Facebook/YouTube/ Instagram/Website/ Twitter accounts (first mykidhascancer.com, then, mykidcurescancer.com, and now, thesternmethod.com) all are directed to help caregivers determine the steps that need to be taken when a cancer diagnosis is given.
They have produced a weekly podcast (over 50 to date) where a specialist is interviewed to discuss cancer treatments and healthy living in general as it applies to childhood cancer.
They recently offered a free online event called the “Toxic Home Transformation Summit” addressing how to make your living environment healthier.
Ryan commented, “People are taking notice.” 100,008 watched the event. It is the biggest thing they have done to date and he said, “We received tons of great feedback and opened many people’s eyes.”
He added, “We are now fully immersed in the online health world.”
Ultimately, it started because they “didn’t want to sit back and not do whatever they could to help make sense of it [Ryder’s cancer].” The Sternagels saw other parents going through the same struggles and wanted to share their findings and help.
What is the message and/or advice that Ryan would offer to other parents?
“You are the CEO of your kids health. A CEO isn’t necessarily the financial or marketing expert, but they have a hand in it. They bring people in to do the job as they see fit. At the end of the day, they look to the CEO to run a good company and your child is the company in this case. In this day and age there are so many experts available. Don’t pin your child’s health on just one person [i.e. Doctor].”
Ryan ended with, “We have always wanted to do something that made a difference. We are trying to make the world a better place.”
I would say they are right on track and Ryder and his little sister, Channing, are lucky kids to have them as parents.
Visit thesternmethod.com for more information.
If you’ve had lunch at Shake ’N Go, a brew at Triplehorn, or a glass of wine at Elevation Cellars off of 144th Ave NE you probably haven’t had a reason to venture much further down the road. But, if you did, you’d find the 42,000 sq. ft. production facility and offices for Garden Fresh Foods.
Jim Dugdale and Steve McFarland founded Garden Fresh Foods in 1987. When Jim Dugdale retired in 2000, his son Mark Dugdale and his wife Christina bought out his interest. Then in 2017 when McFarland retired, they became sole owners. Mark and Christina Dugdale grew up on the Eastside and live in Bothell.
Garden Fresh Foods packages fresh cut vegetables that are sold to wholesale accounts. Most of the product stays in the Pacific Northwest due to the freshness factor and winds up at schools, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. Think Whole Foods, Ivars, and Northshore School District.
The company also provides potatoes to the national conglomerate C-Fresh, a division of the Campbell Soup Company among others. The preparation method that they use for their potato products are proprietary. The product is also in demand, especially with companies that are concerned about quality. Mark and Christina work predominantly with farmers in Eastern Washington, Skagit Valley, and California and accept only the highest quality produce for their products.
From the time Mark Dugdale was first able to work at 14 years old, he’s been involved in Garden Fresh Foods. He said, “I did every job at the plant. I started out washing trucks, then into production, and eventually driving.” He graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree then joined the company full time. Christina and Mark married in 1997 and after spending time at home with their three children, she joined the company full time in 2009. She said, “We do everything together.”
They recently received their “Organic Certification” and passed an internationally recognized Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 2 audit with a 97 out of 100; each of which was quite an effort but worth it. They are also sticklers for food safety for the end user. Mark said, “I want to sleep well at night.”
Currently 80 employees work at the facility and Mark noted that they are looking to hire up to 16 more people in the coming weeks.
According to Christina, the employees at Garden Fresh Foods are so very important. Many of the positions are for unskilled labor but they are definitely filling a niche in the marketplace. “We employ people that don’t need a huge skill set but are important to our community. It is rewarding to provide jobs to people,” she said.
They find their workers through Better Teams, Indeed, an in-house referral program, and Hopelink to name a few.
They spend time with new employees to train and educate them on procedures and their company core values. “We are right there with the employees and very ‘hands on’ owners,” said Mark. Every employee must be committed to these values that include forward thinking, [being] positive, reliable, diligent, resourceful, and ethical.
It has paid off as well with wonderful long-term employees that Mark and Christina consider part of the family. Mark referred to one of their employees who started with them 25 years ago after she arrived to the U.S. from the Ukraine and another that worked alongside him in the warehouse when he was a teen. “People may not know us because we haven’t invested in local causes but we are definitely striving to invest in local people.”
Visit gardenfreshfoods.com for more information.
My daughter always encourages me to “practice yoga” – “it’s good for you mom.” And yes, she’s right. Every time I take a class, I feel better – more relaxed and definitely more flexible.
So when I recently read about a “Laughter Yoga” class at Studio Beju in Duvall, I knew I had to check it out. My motivating thought was that I typically laugh at myself as I am attempting certain stretches so I am already doing it to an extent.
LaughterGlow Yoga class in progress. (Courtesy photo)I called Randee Young, owner, with LaughterGlow to find out more.
Her classes in Duvall were on summer hiatus so as an alternative she invited me to a class she was teaching at Fairwinds Retirement Community in Redmond.
Not knowing what to expect, I showed up in my yoga gear, with my yoga mat, and water bottle. I walked into the classroom and realized immediately that I was overdressed so to speak. Regular street clothes would have sufficed and since chairs were arranged in a half circle it was unlikely I’d need my mat. But it was a good opportunity for me to immediately laugh at myself so I knew I was starting the class off right. (Please note that the senior classes are typically taught in chairs whereas other classes with younger clientele involve moving around more.)
There were five lovely ladies, who were residents of Fairwinds, in the class with me. Randee welcomed everyone, and let the ladies know that I was participating to learn more about Laughter Yoga for a story that I was writing.
As with all yoga classes (or at least the ones I have attended), we started with breathing exercises. Then along with the breathing, we added stretches, and you guessed it laughing, giggling, and smiling. More fun and humor followed with us making silly faces and laughing at each other in our small group. I may have started out faking my laughs, but soon I was truly laughing. Maybe in part because I was wondering what anyone who walked by might have thought of our antics.
As a class leader, Randee has an aura about her that makes you instantly feel good. She is relaxed and helps you relax as well. Her smile is genuine, and she really seemed to enjoy laughing with us.
As Randee explained Laughter Yoga is good for us on many levels. Laughter releases endorphins that give us the “feel good factor.” It promotes positive thinking, improves respiration and circulation, and reduces stress and tension.
Laughter Yoga is really a thing too – throughout the world – no joke. Dr. Madan Kataria developed it over 25 years ago. Randee learned about it from a guest speaker at Fairwinds. She enjoyed the class so much she became leader certified and now has her teacher certification, which allows her to train others.
The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter. One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits. Clinical research has proved that laughter lowers the level of stress hormones (epinephrine, cortisol, etc.) in the blood.
Randee Young (left) with fellow classmate at Laughter Yoga training class. (Courtesy photo)Following 30 minutes of fun, Randee ended the class with a total relaxation segment that left me refreshed and clear-headed.
As I was driving home, a driver who was driving very erratically cut me off. Admittedly, I had a flash of anger that I was able to turn off I know due to the class that I had just taken. I thought about that driver, and many others who could benefit from yoga and a dose of laughter in their lives. When I later mentioned this to Randee she agreed and said that Laughter Yoga has helped her deal with traffic by letting out a “Ha, Ha, Ho” instead of letting getting angry.
Randee has spent most of her life in Washington state and has lived the last 10 years in Duvall. In addition to her LaughterGlow business, she is the Guest Services Manager at Fairwinds.
I asked her what she enjoys most about Duvall. She said she loves the small town feel of Duvall and the access to the outdoors. Randee along with her husband and dog spend many afternoons on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.
Classes at Studio Beju will start again in the fall according to Randee, but in the meantime, she’s available for private and group sessions that promote team building and support. Randee is looking “for more opportunities to spread the joy of laughter.”
To learn more about Laughter Yoga, see upcoming class schedules or contact Randee for a private session, email Randee at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.maylaughterglow.com.
Mia Harris is making a difference with soup, socks and compassion towards fellow humans. She will be a sophomore at UW Bothell this fall and is studying media and communications along with economics and public policy. She is also the Director of Communication and Lead Peace Committee Chair for UW Bothell (UWB) Rotaract.
Rotaract is the college version of Rotary. The UWB Club is an offshoot of the Woodinville Rotary Club. Currently about 15-20 students participate on campus. Harris participated in Rotary through her high school in Bremerton so when she saw the table at college orientation last year, she decided to sign up. She said, “Rotaract is a very inclusive club and we welcome everyone.” They meet monthly with a guest speaker presentation.
July 14 BBQ group shot with Mia and the UW Bothell Rotaract, Woodinville Rotary, Northshore Fire Department, and Woodinville Fire Department. (Photo by Carol Lee)UWB Rotaract has embraced the mission as a Rotary PeaceBuilders Club and is aiming to create and spread awareness of homelessness, the difference between working poor and being homeless, and the need in our community and globally. Harris has long been an advocate for homelessness so she is very active in helping to organize events and build awareness. UWB Rotaract has partnered with Camp Unity Eastside (CUE) for their Peace Project.
CUE is a tent village with residents that aren’t who you might normally expect. They’re a mix of families and individuals, some employed and others unemployed. Many leave in the morning to go to their jobs or to find affordable housing, and come back assured they have a place to call their own. It is a safe and secure place to rest at night. Folks from all walks of life live at CUE, and all of them have a unified goal: To pick up the pieces of a life that is familiar and to move into a more prosperous and sustainable future. Whether it’s finding work, a new place to live, or just a fresh start at life, camp residents are supported by the community at-large.
Camp supervisors and board members are professionals who guide and help camp residents throughout their stay. Anyone experiencing homelessness is encouraged to visit Camp Unity Eastside. CUE is an 18+ adult camp village. Drugs or alcohol are not allowed.
One way, UWB Rotaract is working with CUE is by organizing events. They hosted two Sock and Soup events this winter/spring and just hosted a Sock and BBQ event last month. For that event the Woodinville and Northshore Fire Departments stepped up as sponsors by donating and cooking all of the food. Harris said that Bombas socks has been very supportive and donates socks to the residents at CUE for these events.
During the event, members of Rotaract spent time getting to know members at CUE. “It was nice to share a sunny day, share a meal, and share stories,” Harris said. Oftentimes, homeless people do not get the opportunity to socialize so this event is a step in the right direction of helping them feel included. Harris added, “The goal is to build peace through every event.”
For someone so young, Harris has learned the importance of giving and you can hear the compassion in her voice.
About being involved in the Peace Project she said, “It makes me feel grateful for what I have and wants me to help more. It makes me happy and makes me feel like I’m making a difference.”
The next Rotaract PeaceBuilder event is the Steve Dolan Picnic for Peace Builders on August 14th from 5-8 p.m. at Nardo Land (22128 Paradise Lake Rd, Snohomish, WA 98296). The event promises fun, games, prizes, activities, and a free picnic dinner. All activity ticket proceeds will go to the Dolan Haiti Mission. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2147952808776294/
To learn more about the UW Bothell Rotaract Club and upcoming events, visit https://www.facebook.com/UWBRAC/,
To learn more about Camp Unity Eastside, visit https://campunityeastside.com/.
Ten-year-old Tyler Carach, The Donut Boy, began his mission to thank every police officer in America in August of 2016.
As his mom, Sheena (who was traveling with Tyler on this trip) explained, Tyler is passionate about thanking officers for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis for total strangers.
Tyler (aka The Donut Boy) posing with two of Everett's finest Aaron Snell and Yulia Wold last week. (Photo by Kristen Hamilton)Fast forward to July 30, 2018 where he was visiting his 35th state in the U.S. with his visit here in Washington. Up to this point, Tyler has passed out 65,000 donuts to his heroes in blue.
I met up with Tyler and his mom at Galls Store on Aurora Avenue in Seattle. Galls has supported “The Donut Boy” since the inception of the program. The Carachs would be heading to the Eastside later in the day to visit Snohomish Sheriff’s Department and officers throughout our readership area.
Tyler was wearing his signature cape with the motto “I donut need a reason to thank a cop” sewn into the back. He readily admitted he had already eaten four donuts as he buzzed around the store on a stool on wheels. Sheena commented that she was a little concerned about the sugar crash that might happen later in the day.
He welcomed officers from Redmond, Seattle, and Everett with a big smile and asked what type of donut they would like. Everyone sincerely thanked Tyler for his recognition and happily posed for photos with The Donut Boy.
This trip involves visiting five states to bring Tyler’s total to 39 by the time he returns home to Florida mid month just in time to start 5th grade.
From here they are heading to Alaska then stops in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. What a great kid – keep up the good work Tyler!
Larry Bridges, Voice and Performance Coach for over 40 years, thinks you can and he’ll help you along the way.
Throughout the years, Bridges has taught students as young as 7 years old up to 84 years old. As he thinks back on his career, he says, “Many of my friends are former students.” He even married one of his students, Dorothy, over 32 years ago!
Bridges graduated with a B.M.E. in Music Education (vocal specialty) and a M.A. in Vocal Performance. His teaching career started at the University of Denver (Colorado) where he taught voice for the theatre department. While there he performed at the Country Dinner Playhouse in Denver to sold out crowds nightly.
From there it was off to Los Angeles where Bridges formed his own band. The band did well for many years and opened for Barry Manilow, among others. He continued to teach while in LA. Here he would work with many professionals that are still in the business and quite successful.
Not one to toot his own horn, I asked him to share a few of his stories.
Bridges said, “About 20 years ago, I had a phone call from a former student. He told me I had been responsible for encouraging him to keep going in the film and music industry. I taught him for a few years at the beginning of his career. His name is Mykelti Williamson (Bubba in ‘Forrest Gump’). He has been in over 100 movies, and held major roles in shows like ‘24’ and ‘Nashville.’ We keep in touch.”
Four years ago he helped a local fourth grader get ready for the Fifth Avenue Theatre auditions for “Oliver.” He made it and is now realizing his dream as a regular on the Amazon series “The Dangerous Book for Boys.”
A high school student dreamed of being in the musical “Hairspray.” Bridges worked with her and she ended up being cast in the world premier of the student edition at the International Thespian Festival.
In 1989, Bridges and his wife along with his two sons, Jordan and Austin, moved to Woodinville.
Here he opened shop with Bridges Voice Instruction and has been going strong ever since.
Bridges is a songwriter with two albums. He shared a beautiful song he wrote for his son, Jordan, to celebrate his birth called “Dreaming of Your Eyes.”
He also helps students write songs. He says, “I try to help people find their voice in the world and not just by singing.”
Bridges told me about a shy 3rd grader that he met last year. Her mom told him that she liked to make up songs, so he turned on the recorder and asked her to make up a song for him. He played piano chords to her melody and she created an “extremely creative” song. He said, “Her mom submitted it to the PTA’s ‘Reflections’ competition and she was a finalist in the state for 3rd to 5th graders.”
While meeting with Bridges in his studio in the lower level of his home, you can feel his infectious energy for teaching and passion for music. I’m certain I only touched the surface of his success stories!
His website is www.anyonecansing.com and he believes it. A humorous instructional book is in the works to help timid beginners who’ve been told they should only mouth the words.
Although his students can be any age, his typical student is still in school. He said, “I love helping them achieve their dream [of singing and acting].”
As a long time resident of the area, I asked Bridges what his favorite thing was about Woodinville. He said, “Besides the friendly people, July and August.”
What does he feel is one of the best things about the area? “The wineries and the destination business they have brought to the area.” And, the worse? “The traffic.”
Bridges is hopeful that new artists, musicians, and poets will emerge. He believes they are the key for making people more loving and tolerant.
Bridges ended by saying, “Music and art can help save the world.” I hope he’s right.
Chase Warren may only be a recent high school graduate but he definitely knows what he wants and is doing everything he can to make his dream of becoming a Genetic Engineer a reality.
I met Chase and his biggest cheerleader, his mom Jennifer Warren, recently to chat about his recent trip to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders event in Boston, Massachusetts.
“It was an awesome experience,” Chase said of the event. The Congress touts itself as the largest and most impactful gathering of future medical leaders. Attendance is by academic nomination only and all students must have a minimum of 3.5 GPA to attend. During the Congress students are able to view an actual surgery, learn about state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, and be mentored by some of the greatest minds in medicine. Speakers included Nobel Prize Laureates, top medical school deans, and leaders in medical research and private industry.
Chase shared that he was able to meet his idol George M. Church, Ph.D. who is the Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Church and his team invented CRISPR for human stem cell genome editing and other synthetic biology technologies and applications. This includes new ways to create organs for transplantation, gene therapies for aging reversal, and gene drives to eliminate Lyme disease and malaria. CRISPR is of great interest to Chase.
He wants to get into research and hopes to help find cures for cancer and other diseases. He developed an interest in the field after his Grandpa Reed was diagnosed with cancer and Chase wanted to help. He even visited the doctor’s office at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center with his grandfather and shared his thoughts of possible treatment options with the doctor. Sadly his grandfather has since passed away but Chase’s desire to help has only gotten stronger. “In the next 20 years, we should have cures for all types of cancer,” said Chase.
He has chosen to attend Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman for the 2018/2019 school year. Chase admitted that a big part of that decision was that “[he will be] able to get into the lab at WSU after only seven weeks of starting school.” He said that at some schools students must wait a year or two before being able to access the lab but he was accepted to the Students Targeted toward Advanced Research Studies (STARS) program at WSU and that has opened up the door to access the lab much earlier. He said he has so many ideas relating to genetics and CRISPR that he wants to get started right away.
Chase has spent his entire life in Woodinville. He attended East Ridge Elementary then when he was in 6th grade the family transferred Chase and his brother Spencer to King’s Schools in Shoreline. The move to this private school was important to the Warren’s (Jennifer and her husband Randy) to help their kids have every available advantage. The new school entailed a long daily commute for both boys but the family made it work.
Chase took every science class he could at King’s and Biology – Anatomy and Physiology were his favorite classes. He recently graduated and he feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity that King’s provided. Chase said of the opportunity, “I have great parents.”
Throughout the years, Chase has always stayed involved with his church and the local community and has spent many afternoons volunteering at the Duvall Food Bank.
I asked Chase if he had any advice to pass along to other students with an interest in medicine. “There is a ton of great information on the internet. Amazing sources like John Green [Scientific Revolution], SciShow, Vsauce, and CrashCourse.” He also added that it is important to remember, “Failure is part of success.”
Needless to say this Gen Z (aka Centennial) student has a lot of energy and I’m confident that he’ll do some pretty amazing things in the future.
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