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LIFRC Community Update                    

July 15, 2022
From the Executive Director
Summer is in full swing! This July, our island feels full of neighbors, visitors, and family, giving us a much-appreciated chance to gather and celebrate.

The anniversary of our national independence combined with recent events forces us to look more deeply at how to sustain our democracy.  Now more than ever, it is important to take action and assure that we improve and expand opportunities for all.  LIFRC believes that sharing power and empowering the next generation of diverse leaders who know what is needed is crucial to accomplishing this.

This month, we highlight examples of this work: the Voices and Visions Indigenous Celebration, La Cima Lopez youth bilingual leadership program, and PYD Disability Mentoring Certification. LIFRC is honored to work with these talented leaders as they build deeper connections for mutual understanding, create a more inclusive community, and enact change. 

Special thanks to our generous supporters who take risks with us, helping us all innovate and grow stronger together.
—Barbara Schultheiss
Upcoming Events

Last chance for Summer Social tickets!

The tickets to our August 6th fundraiser dinner are selling out fast, but it's not too late to make your reservation.

Join us for an evening of literary and culinary delights with our guest poet, Rebecca Brown. Here is an excerpt from her latest book, You Tell the Stories You Need to Believe, an essay cycle on the four seasons, time, love, death, and growing up:

When summer is coming you start to see ads for tanning booths and how to lose weight and get in shape so you'll look good in a bathing suit. By summer you need to be beautiful.

No wonder I don't like summer.

. . . The summer was different when I was a kid. The summer was like it was not even really real or not just a time but an actual place you could go. Where school and homework and parents and not knowing how to look never even happened.

Want to hear more? Reserve your ticket by emailing or by giving us a call at (360) 468-4117. More information about the event is on our website.
Our Partners

Indigenous Celebration

Last Saturday, representatives of the Samish, Swinomish, and Yakama Nations, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, and the Lower Pima and Mayan peoples welcomed guests from Lopez to commemorate the first annual Indigenous Celebration on Lopez Island, organized by Voices & Visions indigenous leaders.
Multiple generations of Samish tribal members perform a traditional drum song.
Community members and guests gathered at the Lopez Community Center for an afternoon of festivities including traditional songs, stories, drumming and dance, Indigenous flute music, delicious Indian tacos and fry bread, handicrafts for sale, and hands-on education stations demonstrating local tribal knowledge of weaving, carving, plants and waterways.
Clockwise from top: Samish elder Leslie Eastwood (traditional name Helítselíga) shares traditional weaving and basketry techniques, Pima/Mayan/Berber musician Peter Ali performs Native American flute, and Samish elder Pat Dunn displays woven cedar items for sale.
Samish Indian Nation member and Voices & Visions leader Aurora Martinez (traditional name Sqwemey7ileshewó:t) was asked, “Can you share why the inaugural Indigenous Celebration on Lopez is so important?”

“Our hope is to promote ongoing celebration of indigenous traditions on the island, to build relationships and to create a better understanding of the indigenous people who once occupied this land. Even though the islands have Spanish names, indigenous people were here for 12,000 years before the Spanish showed up! So we are here to teach, to share our knowledge, to honor our traditional culture and to bring awareness of those traditions back to the island because they’ve been gone for so long. 

All of the tribal members who came out to Lopez today left saying that their hearts were full and happy. Being able to come together and do this work here was great for us as indigenous people. It made us feel good to come home.”
Aurora Martinez tells the traditional Samish story of
the Maiden of Deception Pass with Sam Barr.
Aurora wanted to share how Lopezians can broaden their awareness of the island’s indigenous history.

“The Samish Indian Nation and other tribal websites share about the history of the people and their culture. Our tribal website has a great timeline in its history section.”

Aurora adds, “Learning the traditional names of places on the island is one way to honor our history. The clips on the Coast Salish Place Names of the San Juan Islands page and the Samish Language Program website let you hear how the words sound in our own voices. Taking the step of pronouncing a place on Lopez in the traditional language is a great start.”

Our language and culture contemporarily and in the past are profoundly intertwined into this landscape. It is through the language that we understand how our ancestors walked this earth and why we must always perform our sacred duty of protection to our mother earth. Our places are not separate from our language and culture, they are one with our language and culture. It is here that our stories, songs, ceremonies, and daily activities have taken place since time immemorial. This is something we want everyone to know.

—excerpt from Coast Salish Place Names of the San Juan Islands

A display of Samish objects and implements that would have been used by traditional communities living on Lopez.
LIFRC is honored to be learning from tribal leaders like Aurora and her father, Shawn MacAvoy (traditional name Eat'h), and we look forward to the Indigenous Celebration becoming an ongoing Lopez tradition. Stay tuned for more workshops and events offered in collaboration with Voices & Visions indigenous leaders.

La Cima Lopez, 2022

After launching and completing a successful pilot run of mostly virtual encounters in 2021, LIFRC again partnered with the Equity Institute to bring to life La Cima Lopez: a leadership program designed to empower Latinx youth by equipping them with the life skills needed to thrive in school and beyond.

Based on the belief that strong students create strong schools, rather than the other way around,  La Cima helps Lopez Latinx youth honor and walk the lines they often straddle between the world of biculturalism, helping them to not only develop a strong self-identity, but also a sense of empowerment to serve their school and their community.  
La Cima participants on a program outing to Yellow Island.
In keeping with La Cima’s model of student-centered leadership, we have invited some of the youth leaders to share what it means to be a member of La Cima Lopez in their own words. 
Is there something you want everyone to know about La Cima? 
“I just really love this program. It's gotten me extremely excited about graduation and my future. I want to make a great impact in the world! I hope La Cima doesn't just continue; I hope it's here to stay for generations! I would love my siblings to have the support of this amazing community so they can grow up feeling supported and appreciated in the same way.”

What does being part of La Cima Lopez mean for you?  

“[Being a youth leader with] La Cima means being part of something bigger, being part of a group of other Hispanics like me. One of the things it has taught me is how to solve problems as a group, and that there are many ways to solve those problems. It’s a great way to talk about all the different topics to build trust, and also have fun.”


What is your favorite part about the monthly meetings? 
“My favorite part of the monthly meetings is the safe space we created. It allows us to loosen up, play games and also talk about serious topics that affect us all and others without feeling judged. It's a space where we all feel welcome.”

What is your favorite part about joining La Cima Lopez? 
“For me, La Cima gives me a chance to learn more about where I came from, and meet other Latinos who live here on Lopez and on surrounding islands. It’s helped me learn more about my family history. That’s why I loved visiting Yellow Island this year. I really love learning about the history of people and places.”

What is one thing you have learned since joining La Cima Lopez. 

“One thing that participating in La Cima has taught me is what it means to be bi-cultural. Sometimes you can feel like you are neither from here nor there. La Cima showed me that I am not alone in that feeling. When you are born in one country, but raised in another, when you speak one language at home and another at school, it can feel like a burden when, actually, it’s a really great gift.

Activities include team-building and group leadership exercises.
We are grateful for the talented leadership of facilitators Brenda Ochoa and Sergio Barrera, who work with Lopez student leaders to make this program a success.  

La Cima Lopez is  part of LIFRC's larger goal to develop and deliver programs with diverse youth and adult leaders, rather than for them. Community-informed services like La Cima Lopez recognize that everyone on our island—most especially our youth!—make valuable contributions shaping our collective future.

Our partnership with Washington’s Equity Institute and Lopez Island School District is supported by OSPI’s Building Bridges funds.  LIFRC is proud to have been selected for this competitive and prestigious grant for two consecutive years.
Program News

Disability Mentoring Certification

LIFRC Mentoring is proud to announce that we’ve recently achieved Disability Mentoring Certification national status, awarded by Partners for Youth with Disabilities. The certification process took four months, during which time selected agencies were guided through a deep learning process around how to run a mentoring program that is inclusive to youth, volunteers, and staff with disabilities.

The capstone project will help shape LIFRC youth programs. Our cohort is an interdisciplinary team comprised of two LIFRC youth services staff members, Susannah Dunlap and Quaniqua Williams, plus three founders/leaders from ALIGN, Laura Danforth, Erica Karnes and Sheila Woodington.

Susannah Dunlap shares, “We are so grateful to ALIGN for leading the way and partnering with us to improve our youth services. It’s the programs led by adults that need to be educated and adapt. Too often, youth with disabilities are asked to navigate without support, hide a part of themselves, or just sit out. Inclusion means making real systems change now. We look forward to working with our community to build opportunities for all youth on Lopez.”

Introducing Tina McCrea, Community Supports Associate

Tina grew up in Snohomish and has had a soft spot for Lopez since childhood, when her family often visited Decatur Island and took the skiff over to Lopez. She moved here full time in 2016. Prior to her work at LIFRC, you may have met Tina during her time as camp host at Odlin County Park in the summer of 2017, or while working at North Sea Apothecary, Holly B's, Vortex, and Lopez Grind.

Tina has battled Lyme disease, an experience that has deepened her sense of the importance of health, wellness, and community support. When the pandemic hit, she was inspired to find ways to give back to the community that had nurtured her on her own journey. She started by volunteering and gleaning at the Food Share, then officially joined the LIFRC staff in October 2021 as a Community Resource Coordinator in the Family Supports program.

Tina is currently looking for affordable rental housing on the island. She hopes to find a peaceful retreat she can share with her small, quiet, non-shedding dog, Bill, who has become a beloved office mate at the LIFRC office. If you have any leads, please send her an email or give her a call at (360) 622-9711.

Youth Summer Workshops

Our summer workshops are in full swing! Campers are keeping busy with all kinds of fun and enriching activities: cooking, playing sports, exploring the outdoors, and much more. Know a young person who would like to join in? Our workshops run through August, so there is still time to sign up for summer fun. Visit our website to view the brochure and register.
Support the next generation of leaders on Lopez.
Donate today

P.O. Box 732  Lopez Island, WA 98261
(360) 468-4117 

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Lopez Island Family Resource Center · PO Box 732 · Lopez Island, WA 98261-0732 · USA

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