I currently volunteer in the Issaquah Highlands because the enhancement and vibrancy of our neighborhood matters to me.
Seven years ago we moved to the Issaquah Highlands. We were drawn to the Issaquah Highlands for its livability and harmony with our environment. I constantly ask myself how many places can you walk in one direction and arrive within minutes to a great restaurant or theater or go the other direction and be immersed on a trail in the woods?
My volunteering began over 25 years ago when our children started daycare. I volunteered and served on the Board of Directors of KIDSPACE in Seattle and New Gulph Children’s Center In Villanova, PA. I also served on the Board of Directors of Cedar Grove Farms Homeowners Association in Broomall, PA.
My next volunteer experience occurred about a year later after we had returned to the northwest and our children enrolled at The Open Window School. The next month four new members were elected to the Board of Trustees. I was elected Vice President and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and served in that capacity for three years, as well as an additional three years as President of the Board of Trustees. During that period, I lead the development of their strategic plan as well as the planning, development and construction of a new school near the top of Cougar Mountain.
In the short span of six years, volunteers transformed that school from facing several challenges into a vibrant school and a resource for our community. This very rewarding experience taught me that a few dedicated passionate individuals made a significant difference. It always makes me ask what you want your legacy to be.
Are you going to be on the sidelines or are you in the game on the field?
Less than a year after we moved into our home in Issaquah Highlands we received a notice of a proposed new Lakeside Urban Village across from the Park and Ride and continuing up the hill adjacent our home near Katsura Street. The proposal called for constructing nearly 400 apartment and townhomes up to seven stories high. This seemed incongruous with surrounding primarily two-story, single -family homes in the Issaquah Highlands. I immediately got connected with a number of my neighbors. The following several months were filled with meetings, letters, and speeches to neighbors, the Urban Village Development Council, City staff, the Issaquah City Council and the developers. Ultimately, we reached an agreement about building heights that was more compatible with the adjacent single- family dwellings.
This positive experience energized me to seek a position on the Board of Directors for the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA). I have served on the board for the past five years, two as Vice President and currently as the Treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee, where I have served for two years. I have also served two years on both of the other two Board committees (the Architectural Review Committee and the Covenant Committee).
My recommendation to you is very simple. Volunteer early and volunteer often. It is a rewarding experience and you can make a great difference.
Photo: Volunteer of the Month, Dan Vradenburg, and his wife Jennifer, on a recent vacation. Dan is serving his second term on the IHCA Board of Directors.