Make the most out of your commute: the Eastside edition

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
July 19, 2015

Traffic in the greater Seattle area is no joke. Sometimes it becomes a bit of a joke—like when a semi full of fish overturns on 99 and turns the entire city into a parking lot—but those jokes are really just to ease the pain of knowing that it took is over two hours to get home that night. (And we’d all probably like to forget Beenado 2015—and let’s not talk about last week’s unfortunate spill on I-5.)

We don’t want you to be stuck in traffic for any longer than you need to, so we thought we’d help you get those bags out of your trunk (or garage, or front hallway), by letting you know some convenient places to donate that are right on some main commuter thoroughfares. That way, you can just pull off, drop off, and get right back on your merry way home from work!

For starters, we’ll talk about the Eastside.

For 405 commuters, south of Bellevue:
On the 405 corridor, south of Bellevue, we have two convenient donation centers. Our Renton Donation Center is just east of 405, and is attached to a store—just in case you’d rather thrift than sit in traffic. Slightly farther north, with easy access via on and off ramps, is our Newport Hills Park & Ride Donation Site.

For I-90 commuters:
There are two good options for folks who commute on the Eastside via I-90. If you live or work just east of Lake Washington along I-90, we’d recommend swinging south to the Newport Hills Park & Ride Donation Center. If you live a bit farther east along I-90—closer to Lake Sammamish, our Issaquah Donation Site is right off of the freeway. Even if you’re heading east of Issaquah, we’ve got a donation site just a short distance off of I-90 in Snoqualmie.

For 520 commuters:
520 commuters have two great options right along the highway. Our Bellevue Donation Site is in the Overlake area, is attached to our Bellevue Store, and is also home to a Job Training and Education Center. A few miles down the road, east of Lake Sammamish, there’s the Redmond Ridge Donation Site.

For 405 commuters, north of Bellevue:
Not only is there the Bellevue Donation Site just east of the 520/405 interchange, but if you’re heading north on I-405, there’s the Totem Lake Donation Site—and if you need to stop and shop, too—there’s our brand new Juanita Store & Donation Site.

For the 522 commuters:
If you’re commuting in the Bothell/Woodinville area, there are three donation centers on the 522 corridor. Between Lake Washington and 405 on 522 there’s the Bothell Donation Site. East of 405 on 522, there’s currently a donation site at the Woodinville Park & Ride—and opening this August 15, a new Woodinville Donation Site is opening!

For more information about donating—like what we accept—click here.

Now—don’t forget to wear your seatbelt—and no texting (or blog reading) while driving!

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Student Story: Kanwal A., Demri L, Kristina M., Abigail N.

by Catherine Sweeney, Creative Circle
July 9, 2015

Seattle’s huge aerospace industry is often an overlooked career opportunity for women. Kanwal, Demri, Kristina, and Abigail are ready to change that trend. 

All four local high school students are participants in Seattle Goodwill’s Youth Aerospace Program, based at the organization’s Marysville Job Training and Education Center. Established in 2013, the program helps young people in the Everett-Marysville area prepare for college and aerospace careers, reaching more than 60 students to date.

“Women hold just one out of four jobs in aerospace in Washington, and those employed in the field make double the average wage for women,” says Marysville Job Training and Education Center Manager Tania Siler. “With 50 percent of the state’s aerospace workers eligible for retirement within the decade, there will be tremendous opportunities for our program graduates.”

“The numbers of men in the industry don’t intimidate me,” says Demri, who plans to pursue work as an aerospace machinist. “I was already confident in a number of ways, but this program showed me how to be even better.”

The Youth Aerospace Program is no small commitment, requiring a competitive application process and 10-15 hours of class time every month during senior year. After high school graduation, students participate in up to four quarters of advanced aerospace manufacturing classes at Everett Community College, with career and college navigation support from Goodwill’s staff, and some financial assistance as well. Besides connecting students to the aerospace industry, the program emphasizes “soft skills,” including networking, punctuality, goal-setting and financial literacy.

Abigail, who plans on becoming an aircraft mechanic, describes the program as “one of the best decisions I ever made.” She developed new networking skills. “I’ve met aerospace professionals, Seattle Goodwill’s president and leaders and government officials. Now I know how to ask questions and put myself out there.”

“I’ve learned how to work better with others,” Kristina says. Her favorite team project involved creating a mock biofuels company, then presenting to an audience of classmates and aerospace professionals.

The program’s field trips to local aerospace companies piqued Kanwal’s interest. “We met Boeing engineers and heard about what made them successful,” she recalls. “For me, it was important advice for the future.”

As they celebrate high school graduation, these four women can look forward to launching their aerospace careers—and putting some sharp skills to work, together with a new group of friends.

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July 5th: The first day of (Seattle) summer

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
July 5, 2015

It’s a long-standing joke in the Seattle area that summer begins on July 5th. Locals often chuckle as they mention it. While the joke certainly has legitimate origins (decades of weather data through the mid-90s prove it), a wet 4th of July has become as much of an anomaly as Bigfoot in the last 15 years. In fact, there have been more Bigfoot sightings in our neck of the woods in the last ten years than there have been wet 4th of Julys.

All that aside, we’re excited that it’s finally Seattle summer! We’ve talked about some of our favorite family-friendly hikes—here are some of our favorite places to go splash around and cool down!

And don’t forget—when it comes to preparing for summer fun, Goodwill is an excellent place to find everything you need for picnics, hikes, camping trips, and all sorts of adventures in a budget friendly way!

The Seattle Center
The Seattle Center is a great spot to go with the kids, and has two water-play options. On the north side of the Key Arena, there’s a spacious kiddy pool that’s shallow enough for toddlers—but with enough space and variety to make it fun for older kids. Right in the heart of Seattle Center, there’s the International Fountain, a large dome sculpture that spouts streams set to music while kids and adults play in the “rain.” Bonus: The Seattle Center just opened a huge new playground next to the Experience Music Project!

Green Lake
With options ranging from renting a paddle board or boat, to taking a swim at one of Green Lake’s “beaches,” to enjoying the large kiddy pool on the north end, there’s something for any and all ages to do. There are also playgrounds, and a walking path where you can soak up the sun or dry off!

Madison Beach Park
Madison Beach Park is not just an excellent place to swim, but an excellent place to have a picnic with a gorgeous view looking toward the Eastside. While this swimming option is a good spot for all ages with supervision, please keep in mind that this is a big lake, and can get a bit wavy at times!

Lake Stevens Lundeen Park
Located on Lake Stevens, Lundeen Park is an excellent option for the North End and Eastside folks. (But maybe not as far north as you Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish swimmers!) It’s at the north end of Lake Stevens, and features a number of family-friendly activities, including shoreline access and a swimming area!

As you head out to your favorite spot to cool down, be sure to stay hydrated, wear (waterproof!) sunscreen, and know your limits when it comes to a swimming challenge. Have a fun and safe summer!


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Summer Fun: 4th of July

by Catherine Sweeney, Creative Circle
July 1, 2015

Have lots of fun this Fourth! Pick your ideal fireworks watching location, then enjoy a relaxed day of play and picnicking.

Seattle – Lake Union Fireworks, 12 pm – 11 pm
Avoid traffic snarls and ride your bike to Gas Works Park, right off the Burke-Gilman trail. From noon on, you’ll find live music, outdoor games and a beer garden with trivia.  Prefer some time on the water? Head to South Lake Union for free rides in historic boats at the Lake Union Wooden Boat festival, along with Quick and Daring Boatbuilding—build and race your own boat in 24 hours!  Explore food booths and hear more live music at nearby Seafair events.

Looking for festivities and fireworks but a slightly smaller crowd? Check out Fourth of July activities in neighboring communities, from Kirkland’s multiple parades—including a Kid’s Parade— to face-painting, inflatables and more at Renton’s lakeside Gene Coulon Park.  Or head north to Everett for a community parade, and picnic waterside at Legion Memorial Park until it’s time to light up the sky.

Picnic treats
Make some easy-pack foods that are creative and colorful too.

  • Nostalgic for deviled eggs? Surprise your friends and family with red, white and blue ones! Try out this recipe from blogger Valerie Davis.
  • Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut watermelon into shapes, then make a red-white-and-blue fruit salad.
  • Bring individual cherry and blueberry star pies in glass jars (available at Goodwill). 

Park play
Pick up picnic baskets, coolers and blankets at your local Goodwill, and look for Frisbees and balls for playing in the park.  Other outdoor play ideas include:

Gigantic bubbles keep all ages entertained and even help you make new friends. Try out this recipe from Ginger Snap crafts, which includes an easy-to-make bubble wand. Old kitchen utensils with holes —like potato mashers—produce tons of bubbles.

Our open, waterfront parks are ideal for kites, especially if you arrive before the late-afternoon Fourth of July crowds. Check Goodwill for kites, or make your own out of a plastic bag.

As dusk begins, submerge glow sticks in filled, capped water bottles. Do some night-time bowling while you wait for the fireworks. Then, get ready to gaze up and be amazed. Happy Independence Day!

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Summer Fun: Festivals!

by Catherine Sweeney, Creative Circle
June 28, 2015

Milk carton races, local music, Pride Parade, hydroplanes…there’s something for everyone at Seattle’s free summer festivals. This quick checklist will help you plan ahead, and introduce you to our summer, if you’re new to the area.

From blankets to collapsible chairs, you’ll find festival gear at Goodwill. Share pics of your purchases at Goodwill #GoodSummer Contest using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and you could win a trip to the San Juans or Leavenworth, or other prizes!

June 28
The largest free Pride festival in America, Seattle’s Pridefest is a regular winner of Seattle’s Evening Magazine’s Best Local Event. The iconic Pride Parade takes place Sunday, June 28, at 11 am. (And yes, we have lots of options for your attire!)

Fourth of July in Seattle is so good that it deserves a stand-alone blog—stay tuned. Let’s fast-forward to the following weekend, full of even more festival choices.

July 11–12
How to choose which festival to attend this weekend?  How about all of them?

Visit Seattle’s International District for Dragon Festival, with live multi-cultural performances and historic walking and food tours, including the popular $2 Food Walk, plus the annual Sakura Con Anime Costume Contest. You can celebrate into the evening at Night Market (6 pm – 12 pm, July 11), where you’ll find more than 30 food trucks, an international market and an all-ages dance party.

Relax in the shade at Green Lake and cheer for your favorite milk-carton sailing contraptions. Held on July 11, Seattle Derby Day includes a stand-up paddle boarding competition too.

These two neighborhood festivals seem to get bigger and better each year. Ballard’s Seafood Fest will host local bands and the very popular salmon barbeque. If you missed The Moondoggies at our Earth Day celebration concert with KEXP, you can see them at the Ballard Seafood Fest! See more than 20 live bands at West Seattle Summer Fest (begins July 10).

Watch a full weekend of live theater at the Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival in Volunteer Park, including classic Shakespeare, improv and much more, with family-friendly offerings too.

July 17–19
Held at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Discovery Center, the Seafair Indian Days Pow Wow includes performances by traditional Native American, Alaska Native and First Nations drummers and dancers, as well as native food and art.

July 25
See more than 100 community floats, marching bands, drill teams and giant helium balloons at the beloved Seafair Torchlight Parade.

July 31–Aug. 2
Everyone in Seattle knows when it’s Seafair weekend—but have you seen the events up close? Genesee Park is the place to be, where you’ll have ideal views of both the hydroplane races and the airborne feats of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and Patriots Jet Team. 

For news on even more festivals and activities, take a look at the Visit Seattle website.

Enjoy your summer!

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