Northwest NEWS

November 29, 1999

Front Page

Community Involvement Week benefits Eastside youth organizations

by Deborah Stone, features writer

   Volunteers from five Eastside youth organizations will be dispatched to bus tables, tote pizza, talk about their services, and share equally in the receipts of three Seattle-area Round Table Pizza restaurants during Community Involvement Week, December 6-10.

   Each of the non-profits stands to net an estimated $1,000 or more, according to Dan Veenstra, Seattle-area Round Table Pizza franchisee and Community Involvement Week organizer.

   Both Veenstra and his wife, Toni, the co-founder of the original Round Table restaurant that opened in 1959 in Menlo Park, California, are strong believers in the importance of community service. Community Involvement Week is modeled after two successful events that Veenstra implemented in the early '80s in the San Francisco Bay area.

   Eastside beneficiaries include Kindering Center, Friends of Youth, Multi-Service Center, Youth Eastside Services, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

   Kinderling Center provides comprehensive, individualized services for children from birth to three years old who are disabled or developmentally at risk from abuse or neglect, and their families. The organization serves more than 1,000 children a year.

   Friends of Youth is a multifaceted organization founded in 1949 to develop, provide, and advocate services for children, youth, and their families, and foster a community environment that encourages individual growth and promotes healthy relationships. It is the largest provider for homeless and runaway youth on the Eastside.

   Multi-Service Center helps to provide basic needs to homeless and low-income families, the disabled, and elderly. The agency serves an average 6,000 people a week and operates food banks, an emergency shelter, and transitional housing, as well as transportation services and a family development program.

   Youth Eastside Services focuses on providing quality community and school-based programs and counseling to deal with youth substance abuse, violence prevention, teen pregnancy, sexual abuse, and assault. The organization served 21,000 individuals last year.

   Big Brothers Big Sisters of King County is one of the largest chapters of this national organization and sees itself as a preventive agency. It provides one to one mentoring for 775 at-risk youth in King County.

   The five organizations will set up exhibits at Round Table Pizza restaurants in Redmond, Issaquah, and Woodinville and mingle with customers while talking about their organizations' missions and programs.

   "It's an opportunity for them to spread the word and receive valuable funding to keep their activities going, and also for local residents to say 'thank you' to the volunteer organizations that serve the community and make it a better place to live," says Nancy Szeliga of the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.

   The cities and local chambers of commerce are all helping to promote and publicize the event by putting out the word through newsletters and signage.

   "We are pleased to see businesses working with private agencies and look forward to seeing more partnerships like this in the future," says John Markuson, Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Woodinville. "We are very supportive of what Dan Veenstra is doing and we are helping him make this event a success."

   Kindering Center day will be Monday, December 6; Friends of Youth, Tuesday, December 7; Multi-Service Center, Wednesday, December 8; Youth Eastside Services, Thursday, December 9; and Big Brothers Big Sisters, Friday, December 10.