Supporters outline future for human services campus

April 5, 2011

The push to select a location and raise dollars to build a long-planned human services campus in Issaquah — envisioned as a clearinghouse for employment assistance, food aid, health care and more — should start in earnest this spring and summer after years spent on discussions and studies.

Organizers plan to launch a fundraising campaign for the campus, identify anchor tenants and, most critically, select property or a building to house the facility.

John Rittenhouse

The result could resemble the nonprofit Together Center, a similar campus in Redmond. In 2007, Issaquah leaders and the Together Center — then called the Family Resource Center — partnered to spearhead a feasibility study for a campus in Issaquah.

Together Center Executive Director Pam Mauk and John Rittenhouse, a former Issaquah councilman and a Together Center board member, presented the study to City Council members March 29.

“So, what does the study conclude?” Rittenhouse asked. “It concludes that a human services campus being sited in Issaquah is feasible. Under all scenarios that were studied by the consultants, a campus is doable in Issaquah.”

Plans for the campus hinge on the location, and whether organizers opt to build a campus or lease space in existing structures.

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Who’s News

February 22, 2011

Together Center announces board of director changes

Barbara de Michele, of Issaquah, has been named chairwoman of the Together Center board of directors. She is the executive director of the Issaquah Community Network.

De Michelle takes over for longtime chairman John Spangenberg, of Kirkland, who has been named chair emeritus.

John Rittenhouse, a manager at Microsoft from Issaquah, is now vice chair.

Also joining the board of directors is Donna Batter, of Issaquah, a fundraising consultant.

Together Center is a nonprofit organization that helps the needy find food, shelter, medical and dental care, child care assistance, youth and family counseling, and more.

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Teenagers think inside of the box

November 23, 2010

Cold campout raises awareness of homelessness

Even after spending more than an hour building her cardboard box house and sleeping with nothing but cardboard and a sleeping bag between her and the raw outside, Kristin Dietzel was ready to tackle the day’s challenges as a temporary homeless minor.

But, as the day wore on, Dietzel, an eighth-grade student at Beaver Lake Middle School, found herself growing tired. She had fasted for 24 hours, gone digging through Dumpsters for meals, walked door to door for a food drive and panhandled outside a grocery store in Issaquah, all on the cold, gray day of Nov. 13.

She and 23 other students learned about homelessness in a 24-hour activity called Box Out, held by the Faith United Methodist Church youth group. Director of Youth Ministries Robert Seybold started the program seven years ago, but this is the first year he has organized it in Issaquah.

For Seybold, homelessness is a personal issue. As a teenager growing up in Yakima, he was homeless on and off for three years.

“I just remember what it was like to have to cover myself up with cardboard boxes whenever it would be raining or snowing,” he said. “I would grab plastic bags from the grocery store to prevent them from getting wet.”

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Issaquah residents use human services campus

November 16, 2010

Together Center — a human services campus in Redmond — served more than 67,000 people last year, including 1,186 Issaquah residents. The campus, formerly known as the Family Resource Center, also served 762 people from Sammamish.

Overall, the number of people using the services at the campus jumped from 42,000 in 2009. The campus serves as a source for food, shelter, medical and dental care, and youth and family counseling. Read more

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