Building Peace with Soup, Socks, and Compassion

  • Written by Kristen Hamilton
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.
37058978 2294202510597717 7639158025281863680 oJuly 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
To learn more about the UW Bothell Rotaract Club and upcoming events, visit,
To learn more about Camp Unity Eastside, visit

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