Volunteerism is city’s most treasured value

June 4, 2013

By Staff

One of Issaquah’s best assets and most treasured values is its volunteer spirit. The city has grown enough that a volunteer coordinator is becoming critical to keep that spirit going.

It’s that time of year when organizations are recognizing their many volunteers. The awards culminated last week with the annual Community Awards event. Everything from environmental work to education advocates were recognized by assorted organizations, including the city.

Maxwell Tang, the Youth Leadership Award winner, said after the awards that hearing each honoree’s story has inspired him to want to come back after college to play a part in Issaquah’s future.

Yes, Issaquah welcomes leaders, and we believe there are more of them just waiting to find their passion to make a difference. Yet, nonprofit groups often have a hard time recruiting the volunteers they need. A full-time volunteer coordinator could connect doers with needs.

The city has always encouraged volunteerism, especially under the leadership of Mayor Ava Frisinger the past 16 years. Ironically, the city is now looking at streamlining some of its volunteer commissions to cut costs — a move that would limit opportunities for those with specific know-to act as advisers to the City Council.

While we appreciate the move to have a more efficient government, we hope the council will reject this move. Instead, it needs to build on volunteerism at City Hall and throughout the community.

Issaquah is also in need of a citizenship program that helps newcomers learn more about the city, from history to public safety to geography — and city values. A volunteer coordinator might be just the person to pull it together.

Issaquah will continue to grow, but will that mean becoming a city that is less connected? Issaquah might have nice parks and nice people, but without involvement, Issaquah will lose that something extra that makes it a special place to live, work and matter.

 

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