City of Seattle

Ed Murray, Mayor


SUBJECT:   Celebration held for graduates of People's Academy for Community Engagement
10/26/2012  12:00:00 PM
Christa Dumpys, (206)684-4812
Lois Maag  (206) 615-0950

Celebration held for graduates of People's Academy for Community Engagement
Deputy Mayor Smith congratulates the 28 graduates of the city's pilot program

PACE 2012 Graduates October 26, 2012 (Seattle, WA) - Last night 28 up-and-coming community leaders celebrated their graduation from the People's Academy for Community Engagement, a program of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Known as PACE, the 7-month program provides leadership training in community involvement, empowerment, and civic engagement to emerging leaders interested in serving their community. More than 100 family members, friends, civic leaders, and city staff attended the celebration at Montlake Community Center.

"Since April the participants have been learning about community organizing, outreach techniques, and community building from some of the leading experts in the city," said Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith. "After participating in PACE's intensive program and learning from the best in the field, we know great things will come from these new leaders. I look forward to partnering with them as they work to improve our city's neighborhoods and the community at-large."

In addition to attending classes, the participants had monthly homework assignments and worked as teams on community -based projects which were presented at the celebration. The 2012 class represents all sectors of the city and more than half are from historically underrepresented communities.

The participants also learned techniques on how to involve and include all community members so that cultural and ethnic communities have the opportunity to participate in the civic process. "Engaging all communities is important to the city and the role of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods," said Bernie Matsuno, director of the department. "When these graduates work in the community and apply the skills that they've learned through PACE, I know they'll ensure that all voices are heard. I look forward to seeing them in action."

At the ceremony the graduates received congratulations from Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, along with civic leaders Chas Redmond, Citywide Neighborhood Council chair, and Ben Hunter, Community Arts Create executive director. One of the graduates, Bridgett McGinnis from the South Park Neighborhood Association, spoke at the ceremony on how PACE has affected her and its influence on her community work. She stated, "I plan to apply the skills that I learned in PACE to communities around Seattle, encouraging emerging leaders to learn to stay involved.

Details about the PACE program in 2013 will be available later this year. People interested in learning more can contact Wendy Watson at 206.684.0719.

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2012 PACE Graduating Class

PACE Graduate

Organization/Community Group

Area of Interest

Abdullahi Hussein

North Seattle Family Center

Lake City

Phillip Duggan

North District Council


Annette Heide-Jessen

Lake City Chamber

Lake City

Janet Arkills

Lake City Neighborhood Alliance

Lake City

Diana Bohn

Work It Out

Central District

Felicia Nitu

Capitol Hill Community Council

Capitol Hill

Mekdes Gessesse

Horn of Africa Services

Rainier Valley

Stephen Hall

Friends of the Conservatory

Capitol Hill

Shurvon Haynes

Goodwill Learning Center

Chinatown International District

Anthony Davis

Bethel Christian Church

Central District

Brett Paulson

Belltown Citizens on Patrol


Quynh Pham

Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation Development Authority

Chinatown International District

Riisa Conklin

Freeway Park Neighborhood Association


Aaron Hayden

Sustainable Path Foundation


Michael Kahrs

Central Ballard Residents Association


Lauren Balter

Magnolia/Interbay/Queen Anne Emergency Preparedness Committee

Queen Anne

Daniel Cardozo

Queen Anne Community Council

Queen Anne

Tyson Paxton

Sustainable Magnolia


Nafiso Samatar

Community and Parents for Public Schools

Dereje Zewdie Negassa

Horn of Africa Services

Rainier Valley

Issa Ulo

Oromo Community Organization of Seattle and King County

Southeast Seattle

Bridgett McGuinnis

South Park Neighborhood Association

South Park

Devor Barton

North Beacon Hill Community Council

Beacon Hill

Analia Bertoni

Community and Parents for Public Schools

Hiawatha Davis

R.O.Y.A.L. (Raising Our Youth as Leaders)

Kim Camara

Native Kulturz

Sonia Palma

Seattle Choral Company Board of Directors

Amanda Leonard

North Delridge Neighborhood Council


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Seattle Department of Neighborhoods