Teen uses wish to make the lives of others better

Teen uses wish to make the lives of others better

Allison Christensen is using her Make A Wish gift to help others. At a young age, doctors discovered that Allison had an enlarged heart and would need a transplant to survive.

At the age of eleven, Allison had a stay at Seattle Christian’s Hospital where she created duct tape wallets to pass the time. One of these wallets, custom-made with Seahawks duct tape, was presented to the Seahawk’s own Russell Wilson, who showed off the wallet during a press conference, causing Allison’s deed to be known nation-wide.
The now fourteen year old is making news with another selfless act—she’s using her Make-A-Wish gift to acquire shoes for children in Haiti.

“It’s like I had all the power in my hands and I didn’t know how to use it. I came up with giving shoes, specifically to people in Haiti, because I could not think of anything else and I love shoes and I have enough shoes,” Allison said.

Allison and The Make-A-Wish Foundation worked with Tom’s shoes. Tom’s is known for donating a pair of shoes for each pair bought. As part of Allison’s wish, Tom’s donated shoes and provided running water for a school whose clean water was compromised after an earthquake several years ago.

Allison had previously spent time in the Philippines with her mother, and was upset at the number of kids she saw without clothes or shoes, which inspired her wish.

Allison has received her transplant, and she is still regularly taking medication. Allison is healthy, happy, and helping others.


First graders surprise teacher with adorable proposal

First graders surprise teacher with adorable proposal

Jennifer Lai loves two things in life: teaching her first-grade students and her boyfriend, Samuel Nalbandian. She was surprised when both these loves came together in the form of a proposal.

“My students were able to share the moment with me and Sam knows how important my students are to me,” Jennifer said.

The Lost Angeles couple had been dating for three years. The day of the proposal was also Jennifer’s last day on her teaching assignment at Global Education Academy 2.

Samuel worked with the school’s principal, David Warken, to sneak into Jennifer’s classroom while she was talking with another teacher, and ask the students for help.

When Jennifer walked back into the classroom she was asked to sit down, as a video celebrating Samuel and Jennifer’s relationship played.

After the video, the 20 first-graders lined up, each holding a card with a letter, spelling out the phrase “will you marry me?”

“My students were able to share the moment with me and Sam knows how important my students are to me,” Jennifer said.

She said yes.


Bellevue cop builds trust and skateboarding skills

Bellevue cop builds trust and skateboarding skills

Craig Hanaumi, a Bellevue, WA cop is skating his way into healthy community relationships. The 10-year veteran of the force visits an indoor skate park regularly, building trust with the young skaters and improving his skate-boarding abilities.

Hanaumi, who stopped skating nearly two decades ago, began skateboarding again after receiving a nuisance call about skaters filming tricks. Instead of simply telling the skaters to leave, Hanaumi chatted with them, asking what moves they were doing. He also tried riding one of their boards before politely escorting them off the property.

The skaters filmed the interaction and put it on YouTube. The video has generated positive comments about Hanaumi, who many call “the cool cop”.

The Bellevue Police Department is working to build relationships with the community, Hanaumi said. “Just being in the same space, and being comfortable – you know, no big deal, we’re all the same.”

After interacting with the skaters, Hanaumi began spending time at skate parks, where he met Akash Rishi, who works at a city-owned indoor Skate park.

Rishi said he was initially nervous to see a cop hanging out in the park, but jokingly said, “you know, if you want to give it a try, just let me know.”

Hanaumi was just there to watch, but Rishi gave him skateboarding tips, trying to convince the officer to give it a try.

After listening to Rishi’s tips and persuasions, Hanaumi jumped on a board, and went down a ramp.

“I was blown away. It was, like, the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” Rishi said.

As a Crossroads Community Officer, Hanaumi knows high community involvement can be costly for departments and dangerous for the officers.

“To put yourself in the position to build rapport, it’s not always the most tactical thing to do. And that’s the danger of what we do,” Hanaumi said.

However, Hanaumi has seen the approach pay off, after a young teen with gang-ties who he had befriended came forward with a tip that broke a cold case of a drive-by shooting.

“The reason why that happened was because of all the time that was spent before that trying to build a positive relationship,” Hanaumi said. “And I believe that if that hadn’t happened, then that person probably wouldn’t have been comfortable coming forward to provide any information.”

Photography project documents pieces of Portland

Photography project documents pieces of Portland

An exhibition of the Portland Grid Project, a sustained Portland photography endeavor, will be open to public from March 31 through May 1st at the 12×16 Gallery in Southeast Portland. Sixty images will be on display from the project, showing pieces of Portland and how the city has changed over time.

The Portland Grid Project was started in 1995 when Christopher Rauschenerg, a local photographer, cut a map of Portland into 98 pieces and invited 12 other local photographers to help him capture one randomly selected square per month.

“Everyone brings something completely different to the table,” says Castle, a full-time student at Portland State University who joined the project in 2013. “Especially how fast the city is changing and growing, it’s an opportunity to see Portland — the little places that aren’t highlighted as tourist destinations but are really cool parts of the city.”

The photographers use a variety of digital formats in their project to capture the city, but each focus on the same grid square, using their own perspective and aesthetic in the process.

George Kelly works with film and has been part of the project since 2007. “My goal is to make things more recognizable, focus less on specifics — more broad. I would see a slug in Forest Park but wouldn’t be able to take a picture of it with a wide-angle lens.”

Other photographers enjoy connecting with the community through the project.

“I love photographing people, documenting people and the environment. I also love Portland,” Castle said. “This is an awesome opportunity to get to know the nooks and crannies of Portland — places I’m sure I would never venture to.”

One time, while Castle photographed outside a Baptist church, the pastor came out and asked him what he was doing. After Castle explained the project, the pastor invited him to attend the church service on Sunday.

Castle attended the service and found a welcoming environment. “The congregation and pastor were so welcoming and excited to have me there,” Castle remembers. “They gave me hugs. There was so much passion. I think I even danced a little bit.”

Once a month, the photographers meet and share their work. This month’s artists are Scott Binkley, Nancy Butler, Carole Glauber, Nathan Lucas, Missy Prince, Faulkner Short, Pat Bognar, Daniel Castle, George Kelly, Alberta Mayo, Steve Rockoff and Jeffrey Thorns.

The Grid Project photos can be viewed on the project’s website.

The archive will stand as a wealth of local cultural history.

Tigard-area sisters to compete in World Irish Dancing Championships

Tigard-area sisters to compete in World Irish Dancing Championships

Two sisters, Abby and Elly Cosart will be headed to the World Irish Dancing Championships in Glasglow, Scotland later this month. The pair, who grew up in Blue Mountain have been dancing for approximately twelve years.

This is Abby’s second time to participate in the competition and Elly’s first.

“She was gradually improving, and then this year was, like, her year,” Abby said.

“It’ll be a really, really tough competition,” Elly said. “It’s basically the Olympics of Irish dancing. Only the best of the best get to even qualify, and there’s just so few slots for the recall. Even to qualify, for me, was like a huge deal.”

Their coach, Gerladine Murray said the two are “incredible dancers.”

“They deserve to be going to worlds,” Murray said. “I’m so proud of them.”

The girl’s mother signed them up for lessons when they were children because she thought it would be a fun extracurricular activity. It has been, but the training, discipline and time the girls have put into their dancing has made them professionals.

“I was the college student who kept saying, ‘Oh, I’ll quit next year,’ ‘No, I’ll quit next year,’ and then I could just never do it,” Elly said. “And I actually ended up just really improving a lot and just getting better, really. So I’m glad that I ended up sticking with it, because this last competition year has been the most successful of my life — and Abby’s, too.”

The World Irish Dancing Championships will be held at the Royal Conservatorie of Scotland in Glasglow.