September’s Volunteer of the Month: Tracie Jones

By September 20, 2017Connections
Tracie Jones Volunteer of the Month Issaquah Highlands

As seen in September Connections

Every month for two years, Tracie has curated the School Spotlight section of Connections News. She gathers content from other parents, adds her own and packages it up in an easy-to-follow, comprehensive, two-page column. It’s a lot of work and highly valued by parents of students and non-parents. Thank you, Tracie!
–Nina Milligan, Highlands Council Communications Manager & Editor of Connections

The Issaquah Highlands, by nature, is the truest example of community, built on the “Volunteer Spirit.” I’m thankful my family found a generous and welcoming collection of neighbors, whom we call our dearest friends. Not everyone lives next door but throughout the Issaquah Highlands village we’ve created by volunteering, connecting and caring.

After moving to the ‘Burbs 11 years ago, we were typical new IH residents: young kids, wondering what to do, trying to find our way, and asking when the rain stops? What carried us onward? The wonderful neighbors who started knocking on my door, welcoming me into the Issaquah Highlands community.

I met more neighbors by simply walking outside. One by one, I realized the interconnective landscape we collectively created was my new extended family:  child care, carpool, playdates, wine at the park, baseball, references, block parties, birthdays, schools, girl scouts, and so much more. Each new step, as my kids grew, helped strengthen those bonds, which ultimately initiated my volunteer path.

Like all good volunteer stories, the conversation usually begins with, “Hey, I need some help…Would you possibly be available next Tuesday?” Then, one thing leads to another, and happily to another.

For stay-at-home moms, Grand Ridge Elementary is the perfect place to start, with flexible hours, close to home, and hundreds of choices (working in the classroom, to art docent, or making a thousand copies). Every jobs necessary to ensure success. I’ve pretty much done them all in my ten years as an elementary parent. In the process, I’ve met hundreds of people, strengthening my personal network of IH friends, while understanding first-hand how our community developed into a vibrant, active core, built upon the actions and shared beliefs mirrored at GRE.

While volunteering at the Back-to-School Social, a mutual friend introduced Nina Mulligan (Highlands Council Communications Manager) and the Issaquah Highlands Connections.  After working in schools for almost 20 years, I was asked to help with a school-related column.  One thing lead to another, and now I’m happily starting my third year with “School Spotlight.”

Something important I’ve learned while living here: volunteering is an everyday, organic experience, given to help develop and support our neighborhood. Small, initial steps reap bounds of rewards, creating a united community that keeps us grounded in the Issaquah Highlands.

See September 2017’s School Spotlight column for this month’s school updates. 

Photo: Tracie Jones and her family.