This month, we want to congratulate two community volunteers, Brad and Kim Graziadio. Brad is one of the two volunteer administrators for the Issaquah Highlands Facebook group**, a resident-based online forum with over 7,000 members. Kim is one of the founding members of the popular Bunco Night community group that meets monthly at Blakely Hall. Together, they are helping to connect neighbors to neighbors both in person and online. For that, we are happy to recognize them as our February Volunteers of the Month!
We asked Kim and Brad a few questions to get to know them better.
What do you like about living in Issaquah Highlands?
Kim: We moved to Issaquah Highlands from Sammamish in May 2016. As new empty nesters, we wanted to downsize and stay on the Eastside to be near our children. What attracted us to Issaquah Highlands was its combination of urban but still homey environment. Our dog, Khloe really appreciates the community’s parks, walking trails and dog park. And the area we chose to live in, near Zeeks Pizza, has a small-town feel, yet it’s just a short distance to all the conveniences of Issaquah and the Eastside. We also enjoy being within walking distance of Blakey Hall.
How did you get involved as a volunteer in the community?
Brad: For me, it was hard going from Microsoft’s “always on” environment to being pseudo-retired. There’s certainly a void of daily activity and purpose that’s created when you leave a job. What better way to fill than by serving your neighborhood and helping your neighbors? (Oh, and Kim told me I needed find something to keep me out of her hair.)
When the then Facebook group admins reached out to the group’s followers for help, I volunteered along with another resident. I thought it would be a great opportunity to connect with neighbors and help with community issues. I am now one of the two group administrators. I also see it as a way to help promote emergency preparedness and neighbors helping neighbors.
With over 7,600 members, this Facebook group is powerful from a neighbor-engagement perspective. For example, during the wind and snowstorms of January and February 2019, our Facebook group had 1,600 posts, 16,500 comments and 52,800 reactions during a 60-day period. That’s just incredible and shows how the group helps neighbors connect.
As group admins, we also pass along information to the City of Issaquah related to community issues. In return, the City proactively reaches out to us to spread the word on important city activities (like snow plowing). It’s a win-win situation for both; and I’m proud to help facilitate that relationship.
I also attend the monthly Highlands Fiber Network (HFN) Advisory Group meetings to brief them on any social media discussions related to HFN in the Issaquah Highlands Facebook group. I follow and respond to Facebook posts about HFN connectivity issues and helps dispel misinformation about HFN in the Facebook group.
Based on my role as admin of the Issaquah Highlands Facebook group, Facebook recognized me as a “Power Admin” at the national level and invited me to participate in a national group of Facebook “Power Admins” to help Facebook improve their group administration tools.
Kim: When there was a request to start a Bunco group at Blakely Hall, I volunteered to help lead. I love playing games and thoroughly enjoy meeting new people and socializing. What better way to do that then by joining this group? It’s nice to have multiple group leaders because sometimes life gets busy and one leader can’t make it.
How else are you involved in the community?
Kim: Brad attends the monthly Highlands Fiber Network (HFN) board meetings to brief the board on social media discussions related to HFN in the Issaquah Highlands Facebook group. Brad also responds to Facebook posts about HFN connectivity issues and help dispel misinformation about HFN in the Facebook group.
Tell us about a time you helped a neighbor in the community:
Kim: When “snowpocalypse” hit in February 2019, we were at home in Issaquah Highlands. Brad stayed up that night, posting and organizing information related to road conditions, accidents, power outages and store closures for multiple days. At 3:00am, a neighbor posted about her son running a high fever and needing someone to run to the store to pick-up medicine and a thermometer. (She didn’t want to leave her son alone and her car wouldn’t make it down the showy hill.) Brad messaged her around 3:30am (he was up checking on the group) and drove to Walgreens to pick-up what she needed to take care of her son. She was so grateful, she submitted her story to the Seattle Times as part of their story on the “unsung heroes of the Seattle Snowpocalypse.”