Northwest NEWS

October 2, 2000


Volunteer teen spirit

* by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   It looks like it could be a forest for Munchkins. Stored en masse, little trees, about a foot high, poke out of one gallon plastic pots. Their well-being is important, not only to the City of Woodinville, but to Leota Junior High student Morgan Giddings. As a volunteer for the City, Giddings regularly waters and cares for the young trees which are destined for planting October 7th at a site north of Wilmot Park where the Sammamish River and Little Bear Creek meet. On that day, 400 to 600 people are expected to turn out for the ReLeaf public event and plant over 3,000 young native trees. When full grown and filled out, the trees will shade the river, cool the water for salmon and add beauty to the city. And Morgan Giddings will have had her place in helping to make it possible. Of course, someone else could have watered the young trees if Giddings hadn't volunteered. But the job of caring for the trees couldn't have been accomplished without the commitment of a volunteer. Fortunately, Morgan Giddings, and many other teen volunteers just like her, are willing to donate their time and skills to help make Woodinville a great place to live.
   Another example of volunteer teen spirit is Woodinville High School student Jasmine Wang. She works on the City's teen website three times a week, updating other teens on news about events and schedules for teenagers. There are a number of ways student volunteers help the City of Woodinville. To name a few, some enter data, file, design brochures or the web page. Others host, set up and break down sites for the summer concert series, or help with various activities needed during special events. Recently, a group of teen volunteers gathered together to stencil-paint the message "Dump no waste, drains to streams" next to storm drains in the City's streets. Their one-day contribution to this project will help improve salmon habitat and make the Sammamish River a better place for fish and people.
   According to the City's Volunteer Coordinator, John Markuson, teen volunteers aren't required to commit to a term of service. Their assistance, he said, is needed and wanted for as long as the teen decides to participate. Markuson also said that he tries to match the volunteer with his or her interest. For example, Jasmine Wang wants to have a career in computers and Markuson was able to offer her the opportunity to work on the teen website. And though Morgan Giddings plans a career in interior decorating, she said she was willing to do any job. And taking care of young trees was a new experience for her. Markuson commented, "Periodically, we review the volunteer's involvement and check with the volunteers to see how they feel about their work." He also mentioned that he's in the process of putting volunteers together who share an interest in providing care for those with special needs. "We are encouraging educational training for our special needs population," he added. When Markuson is able to link volunteers with their interests, he said the teens are given a chance to practice doing the things they like to do.
   Jasmine Wang, an honor student, is an example of a teen who enjoys her service for the City. Her initial objective was to apply her community service hours toward the 8-10 hours needed for membership in the National Honor Society. However, she has already served 50 hours and has no plans of quitting. The hours Morgan Giddings has put in working for the City will apply toward a 20 hour service learning project required of all eighth grade students at Leota. Plus, the extra hours are counted toward the 9 hours she needs for placement in the National Honor Society. Both Wang and Giddings were among six teens who were honored at the Woodinville City Council meeting Sept. 18. In recognition of their dedication to community service, the teens were awarded certificates by Deputy Mayor Scott Hageman. The teens noted as All Star Volunteers in good standing with the City of Woodinville were: Roy Brown, Katt Clifton, Morgan Giddings, Amber Nicholson, Jak Thulien and Jasmine Wang.
   For further information on volunteer opportunities, call John Markuson at 425-398-9327 ext. 298. For information on teen programs, contact Cole Caplan at 425-398-9327 ext. 297. Or visit