I was born just outside of Kiev, Ukraine and moved to the U.S. roughly seven years ago. My parents adopted me five years ago and that is when I moved into the Issaquah Highlands.
Being a part of this community, the part that I like most about living in the Issaquah Highlands, is that I can meet new people around my community, and everyone is super friendly to each other, which is amazing! Another benefit about living in the Highlands is there are so many parks around the community where you can hang out! And when I was in elementary school, I was fortunate to only have to walk blocks to go to Grand Ridge Elementary School. At the bottom of the hill there’s a movie theater and many restaurants and shops that are a convenience. Also, there are so many activities the Highlands Youth Board puts on every single year and they are all amazing. I especially enjoy Highlands Day, where neighbors come together, and you can be closer to your community.
I moved to the Highlands five years ago when my Dad and Papà adopted me. My dad is a cosmetologist and my Papà is an executive at Holland America Group. I have a cat named Napoleon who is the sweetest thing ever. My family and I love to spend time together, hike, travel the world, and meet new people.
I became involved as a volunteer in my community after my Papà was elected to the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA) Finance Committee and from there I spent hours and hours in the garden over the last two and a half years. I also volunteered my time at last year’s Highlands Day, preparing for the festival. I helped Mrs. Garrard with many of the hosted activities in the community since I have moved here. I spent at least eight hours at the last Highlands Day and after a volunteer did not show up for their job, I seized the moment to volunteer at the junior bouncy house, which was tons of fun!
Without the encouragement of my parents and my best friends I would never have made as much progress. I feel very fortunate for the support of my family and community. It is very humbling to have the opportunity to serve. Currently, I am applying to participate in the Highlands Youth Council and my goal is to bring my A-game.
My advice to the residents of the Issaquah Highlands is don’t be scared to go out of your way and help out the community. You will make new friends and build stronger relationships with people. That is how I began volunteering. Going out of your way to help, even if it’s something small, is better than not doing anything at all!
Photo (above): Joseph Bone Masak with his parents Jason Bone (left) and Jeremy Mazek (right).