Free Family Health & Wellness Festival

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“Kokua’s Mission is to provide citizens with disabilities the support they need to lead full and meaningful lives.”

March 10, 2010 Volume 6, Number 3


Walk-n-Roll for Spina Bifida – Saturday, March 20, 2010 – held at Rainier Vista Park, Lacey (see more information on page 4 of this newsletter)
Irish Cottage Faire – Musicians, dancers, pipers, food & gift vendors presented by the Celtic Society of South Puget Sound. March 13, 10a-5p, Thurston Co Fairgrounds. More info:
An Evening of Hawaiian Music – Herb Ohta Jr and Patrick Landeza present Hawaiian style music, stories and hula March 13, 8pm. Sunday workshops 10a-3:15p at SPSCC Minnaert Center. More info & tickets 753-8586
Free Family Health & Wellness Festival - Free chiropractic screenings, free pedometers, free karate lessons for ages 8-15, a drawing for an autographed Sounders shirt, square dancing, booths with health & safety info as well as free food samples plus other entertainment. March 20, 9:30a-2:30p at N. Thurston HS, Lacey. More info: 943-5404

Contact us to have your newsletter delivered by e-mail. Phone: (360) 705- 4665 or e-mail


This month’s Employee Appreciation Awards are presented to the following individuals:
Jessie McDonnell- In recognition of your excellent communication skills with the volunteers. Thank you for going above and beyond to make sure the volunteers and interns at 31st feel welcome and valued. Keep up the great work!

Diane Lamb- In recognition of your ability to find great deals on office supplies. Thank you for taking great care to use the budget in the best possible way. You are so helpful, generous, and kind. Your hard work is greatly appreciated.

Jessie Zierk- In recognition of your ability to motivate clients. Your work with James is excellent and is greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work!

ApriLynn Marzwick- In recognition of your wonderful work with Christine. You are so humble, patient, and kind. Thank you for volunteering at Kokua!

Independent Living Team A & B- In recognition of your excellent communication skills and willingness to help each other out in times of hardship. Your ability to solve problems as a team is greatly appreciated. Keep up the great work!

Kokua is still giving out bonuses for referrals. Here’s how it works.

Refer (or give an application to) people who’d make great Kokua team members. When they come for an interview, have them tell their interviewer(s)that you referred them. A referral form will be completed at hire. A referral form must be completed & in the new employee’s file for you to receive the bonus. If your referral is hired & completes 90 days probation, you’ll receive a $50 bonus. If they’re an employee for a year, you’ll receive a $100 bonus.

We'd like to welcome some new employees who joined Kokua this last month. They are:

Megan Casebourn: Megan was born in Eugene, Oregon. Her interests are bicycling, hiking, walking, music, art, dancing, concerts, cooking, reading, teaching, travel,languages, health and massage. She just graduated from massage school (her friends like that!). She moved to Olympia last spring from Astoria, Oregon and she enjoys working and volunteering in the community. She has an adult son, Jesse, who lives in a supported residence in Warrenton, Oregon.

Kayla Hoon: Kayla was born in Lake Orion, Michigan. She enjoys working with people, meeting new people and spending time with family and friends. She’s excited to be working for Kokua.

Theodore (Theo) Porter: Theo was born in Tacoma, WA. He will be the new Client Services Coordinator for Independent Living here at Kokua. He enjoys drawing, music (guitar, drums), darts, tennis, running, reading, movies, and volunteering in the community.

Kyla Siguaw: Kyla was born in Bellevue, WA. She’s been married for 6 years, has 2 boys ages 2 and 4 and is expecting a baby girl in June. She’s the youngest of 10 children. She likes crafting, sewing, reading, being outdoors and spending time with her family. She enjoys working with people and is excited to be part of the team here at Kokua.

Kathy Thompson: Kathy loves singing and reading, and especially enjoys spending time with family and friends.

WELCOME TO ALL OF YOU! We’re glad you’re with us!



or best offer Call 456-3699

Note: Kokua employees may not

purchase items from Kokua clients.
Leadership Workgroup Retreat

  Friday, March 5th was the Leadership Workgroup Retreat.  The annual retreat is a way for individuals in leadership positions in the agency to review how things are going at Kokua & to plan for needed change.  Each year a number of Life Skills Instructors are invited to represent the concerns of those individuals doing only direct care.(This year's LSI representatives were Jodie C, Lilie L, Mareen D, Hilary P and Yolanda W.)

  The focus of this year's retreat was the human aspect of our work environment- what is positive & lifegiving as well as what is draining & discouraging.  The intent of this discussion was, of course, how to increase the former & how to decrease the latter.  As a result of the day's discussion, two new workgroups were formed:  The Brains for Change Workgroup (Kim S, Hilary P, Tim F, Sarah , Theo P, Karen M, Rob K, Sue K & Zach W.) & the Morale & Recognition Workgroup (Bennilyn D, Nicky C, Breezie T, Sarah A, Devin G, Yolanda W, Jason A, Valerie H & Hilary P.)  Both groups will have their first meeting this month.  We look forward to the fresh perspectives these groups will provide. Chris Rasmussen-Barsanti
Do You Have a Great Recipe to Share?

   Kokua is in the process of developing a Caregiver's Cookbook that will be a fundraiser for the agency. We want to create a really great cookbook that will be a resource for caregivers in a variety of situations. We want the cookbook to offer recipes that are compatible with a variety of diets - low cholesterol, diabetic, gluten-free, low sodium, lactose-free, etc.

   If you have a recipe you would like to share, write it down and send it to Breezie at the Kokua office, or you can upload it directly to our cookbook-creating website as follows:  Go to

Use your name as the contributor. The password is: caregiver

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

  Hold onto your tea cups, ladies and gentlemen!  Kokua will be having its first annual gala fundraiser on Saturday, July 24th at the Thurston County Fairgrounds.

The theme for this adults-only bash will be The Mad Hatter's Tea Party.  There will be a silent auction, appetizer bar and some really wacky entertainment.  (Flamingo croquet anyone?)  Stay tuned for more details.  If you are interested in volunteering to help with the event, please call and leave your name with Chris Rasmussen-Barsanti at 705-4665, ext 101.  We will have volunteer opportunities posted in the near future.


What’s Happening at Kokua?

This month we celebrated Jesse W’s birthday at the 25th Loop house. Happy Birthday, Jesse! Dean H visited with his family members and James M has been listening to all of his new music CD’s that he bought. All the guys at 25th Loop are doing very well.

The guys at Chambers kept busy in February. Bill C goes swimming once a week, Gene W goes to a wood carving workshop and Ed W is always busy with his weekly art class, finishing one or two paintings a month. Jack D keeps busy with work. In February the Resource Team had an outing to the Tacoma Art Museum. Bill C, Gene W and Ed W went with them, coming back telling staff they all had a good time. Gene W celebrated his 84th birthday, telling all of us he’s 24. It certainly seems like it at times, with all of his energy! Happy Birthday, Gene!

Laurie H has been enjoying swimming with her volunteer (Sabrina) during the week. One weekend she went to see a play – The Wizard of Oz – with staff. She also visits family on weekends. Laurie always looks forward to her breakfast dates with her boyfriend Roger. Christine R has been enjoying the warmer weather – going on bike rides and walks with staff. She attends MELE and the reading group. This month she went to a dance class at the Y that she seemed to enjoy. In February, Jenny D had cataract surgery on her right eye. She is looking forward to buying a new record player and visiting with her family. Kim R has been enjoying books. She has been attending the reading group and looks forward to staff reading her favorite books. She enjoys going to exercise classes and is looking forward to attending more “People First” meetings.

The guys at the 54thB house have been busy, busy, busy! Jeff D continues to work at Solutions doing janitorial work. He likes having a paycheck so he can go the movies. Jeff has been staying healthy by going swimming regularly and riding his bike. He can’t wait for softball to begin again this year. Gary W is so excited for his new dentures to come. He is also looking forward to going on some job interviews soon. He can’t wait to start working so he can stay busy and enjoy a paycheck. Charlie B recently enjoyed a visit with an old friend from the Carpenter Hills neighborhood. They enjoyed each other’s company and rode bikes. Charlie has also been working on learning how to dial his mom’s phone number.

Cecilia C celebrated her 57th birthday on March 4. She is so excited to be getting a new queen-size bed on her birthday. Happy Birthday, Cecilia!

Danny C and John C are preparing to welcome Derek E to their home as a new roommate. Derek will be moving from Angela St to Carpenter Hills Lp on March 15. Danny and John are looking forward to having someone new to share their home with. Continued on page 2

Continued from page 1
John C is preparing for his birthday party on March 24 (his birthday is the 22nd). He will celebrate with a potluck on Wednesday the 24th from 11-2pm. Bring your favorite finger foods or another great creation. RSVP to the Carpenter Hills house. John has been participating at MELE regularly on Tuesdays. He joins in on activities with coffee close by.

Danny C went to the Squaxin Island Tribes, Sa’Hen’Wa’Mish Days Pow Wow near Shelton on February 21st. He enjoyed the native dancing. Danny and John always enjoy van rides and recently went to Ocean Shores. It was a bit cold, so they enjoyed the sights from inside the van and had lunch afterwards.

Sue W is planning on having a garage sale in April or May, depending on our weather. She has been learning to make macaroni salad, potato salad and blueberry muffins with staff. She is expanding her musical horizons with new C.D.’s. She is also very excited by her upcoming move in June 2010. She is hoping for roommate closer to her age. She is already requesting which staff she’d like to go with her. Sue’s been going to the movies on Sundays with staff and is planning on going to lunch with Karen McSwain, which she really enjoys.

Amanda B is now riding Dial A Lift to her Tuesday MELE’s and enjoys her visits with her mother on Sundays. Amanda is also helping more with household chores and striving to get out more for activities.

Everyone appreciates being appreciated. Try to catch people red-handed in the act of doing something right – and praise them for it.”
Thanks to Bennilyn D for all of the work that she has done with the Client Expense Ledgers this month! I also appreciate her organization and creating the current system of tracking all of the many checks that go out of the office. From Rose Hahn

Kudos to Tanya S and Calvina P for helping out at 25th Loop with filling in on shifts. We would also like to give Josh M kudos for being very thorough with med checks for the clients. Way to Go! Also I’d like the whole team at 25th Lp to know what an amazing job that they are doing with all the clients at our house. From Zach Wedlund

We want to acknowledge Sally L and Diane L for their support of Kokua and every employee in the agency. We appreciate everything you do and you do it all with a smile. It is a pleasure to work with such positive people. Thank you both for all you do. From the Resource Team

I’d like to thank Jane M, Sara C, Amanda C, Nicky C,Carol M and Jennifer M for filling in at 54thA house. We want you all to know that we appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you so much!! You guys are totally awesome!! From Bea Rios

Welcome Kyla S to 54thB! A big thanks to our fill-in staff Sara C, Melissa L, Bob M, and Kyla S. Kudos to Candice G for taking on extra shifts and being willing to fill in the gaps! Kudos to the Resource Team, Michelle, Jill, Devin and Kevin for always doing their best to keep the guys busy. They continue to go out of their way to accommodate the clients’ needs. The guys at 54thB are so lucky to have you. THANKS! From Jason Austin

I’d like to thank the staff and Team Leaders at 23rd, 31st, 54thA and Chambers for keeping me busy as a fill-in at your house. I might be a fill-in staff, but every house has always made me feel as if I was part of the “Team”. Kudos to all of you for that! From Jane McCarthy

I’d like to welcome a new staff to our team – Jane – we’re so blessed to have you. You’re a great pleasure to work with. Also thank you so much to Evelyn B for filling in at the last minute for our graveyard emergency – you are awesome! From Kim Stewart
Continued on page 3

Continued from pg 2 Kudos to everyone helping out to ensure Kokua vehicles are filled with gas, ready for the next driver. Since our Chevron station is in the process of switching to Valero, the following individuals have stepped up and ‘filled up’, Robb K, Devin G, Kim S, Kevin P, Sue K, Tim F, Yolanda W, Hana G and Noreen T. Thanks also to Kim S, Michelle C, Jill S, Sarah A and Fia F who have taken vehicles to have tires and windshields repaired/replaced, and in one instance a van to the Mobility Shop for a modification.  Thank you for being great car buddies! From Diane Lamb

Kudos to the 23rd Team for holding together through all the changes and new schedules and jumping in and giving great client services. We have a great team and once again – thank you to all our fill-in staff for helping us out with our schedule. All this helps us attain our goals with our clients and keeps things running smoothly. A BIG thank-you to Karen McSwain for being there for us – what would we do without you! From Evelyn Baker & 23rd Team

By Breezie O’Neill, Volunteer & Internship Coordinator

Each and every month I continue to be amazed by the generosity of our community. Our volunteer program continues to grow month after month because of the selfless individuals we know as neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family.

It is so uplifting to meet new volunteers. When I ask them why they want to volunteer the response I usually get is “Why wouldn’t I want to volunteer?” When I hear that, I can’t help but smile.

Our volunteers are friends to our clients and supporters of Kokua. They graciously give their time to help further our mission. Kokua’s mission is to support individuals with disabilities lead full and meaningful lives. No life is full without genuine friendship. Our volunteers give the gift of friendship to many people in our community and we are happy to have them share that gift with those we serve.

Other volunteers at Kokua work in the office. Each week they come to make the lives of others a little easier. Office volunteers help by organizing, filing, copying, and double checking the work our staff does. Their hard work makes Kokua run more efficiently. We are graced with their positive energy and are truly thankful for all they do.

Volunteer of the Month

This month’s winner is April Marzwick!! April is in the “Be a Buddy” program and is a friend to Christine. The first time April met Christine she was so energetic, kind, patient, and caring. April has a wonderfully positive attitude and a contagious smile. She is a reliable, hard working volunteer who definitely deserves to be volunteer of the month. Thank you April!

Five New Volunteers!

Give a big warm welcome to the newest members of our volunteer team!

Rebecca Steffensrud was born in Texas.She enjoys sewing, knitting, cooking, and riding motor cycles. She is a SERVSAFE instructor and works for the Washington Restaurant Association.

Gina Nguyen was born in Vietnam and likes to shop, surf the internet, and go out to dinner. Gina will be volunteering in the “Be a Buddy” program!

Meg Martin is a former LSI here at Kokua and is coming back to volunteer with the ladies at 22nd. She was born in Colorado and enjoys music, bike riding, and laughing A LOT!

Shandy Gonzalez is coming to Kokua all the way from Puerto Rico! She will also be volunteering with the “Be a Buddy” program. Shandy likes to play board games, and enjoys music, singing, and dancing.

Chris Edwards is from Fresno, CA and his hobbies include sports and writing. Chris loves football, video games, and being silly with his daughter. He is an experienced political organizer and we are happy to have him on board!

Thank you volunteers for spending an amazing 93 hours of your time in February helping others and putting Kokua’s mission to action!


From Diane Lamb
Here we are just a week away from spring, the buds are bursting and peeks of sun and blue sky are occasionally making an appearance.  This time of year makes us appreciate being able to get out of the house and enjoy our yards and taking a drive when we can.  This is also a great time to spruce up our Kokua vehicles inside and out, making the time spent inside the car or van even more enjoyable.  It just feels better stepping into and spending time in a vehicle that is clean and tidy.  It may be news to some folks that Kokua has both a shop vacuum and a small carpet cleaner (the Bissell Little Green Machine) with an assortment of cleaning products that help make the clean-up process easier and more thorough.  If you want to use any of these items, they can be checked out, just call me to reserve it for your convenience. 

Our vehicles can also be taken to the Car Wash, just stop by the office to get petty cash and bring me the receipt.  If your vehicle has the removable washable seat covers and they need to be freshened up, you can pop them into the washing machine, but please do not use bleach. In April, GP will be making the rounds to be oriented on each of the vehicles as well as make an inspection on each.  Be ready!

On February 18, the Resource Team and Clearfield staff members Amy and Amber took a group to the Tacoma Art Museum. Scott B, Ed W, Bill C, Jeff D, Rodney O, Doreen L, Cecilia C, Gene W, Mike C, Keith W and Paul J participated in the outing. It was a beautiful sunny day for a trip.

The exhibits at the museum included a History of Northwest Art, The Secret Language of Animals and the Movement of Impressionism from Europe, America and the Northwest. There were also several displays of Chihuly Glass.

After viewing the exhibits, we all had lunch at the museum café.

The Resource Team is planning another trip, as admission is free every third Thursday of the month. If anyone is interested, please contact the Resource Team at 705-4665 extension 119.

Join the Spina Bifida Association of Washington State for it’s annual Walk-N-Roll on Saturday, March 20, 2010. It will be held at Rainier Vista Park, 5475 45th Avenue SE, Lacey, WA.

This is a great family-friendly, walk event to raise awareness about Spina Bifida and celebrate the accomplishments of the over 180,000 Americans living with it. Spina Bifida is the most commonly occurring complex birth defect in this country. There is no known cause and each of the 65 million women of childbearing age in this country is at risk for an affect pregnancy.

Come and support the thousands of individuals in our area who live with Spina Bifida! All proceeds are used for programs and services for people living with Spina Bifida or to promote the prevention of this birth defect. For more information, visit or contact Heather Logan at 360-888-0782 or

To register for the walk or donate, visit: Or you can register there on Saturday, March 20. Registration opens at 9:00am. There is a special program at 10:00am and the walk begins at noon.

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