Salmonberry School, Board Chair
Can you share a little bit about yourself?
I moved to Orcas in 2015 when my daughter was one. I had been living in Vegas for ~15 years and realized that this was not where I wanted to raise a child, so back to island life it was! I grew up on Hat Island (off of Everett, not Fidalgo), and we used to spend two weeks island hopping every summer on our boat. I always wanted to live in the San Juans — on any island that had a proper school, honestly! Hat Island was fairly desolate, and my classroom was the kitchen table with my mom and my sister — homeschool was not for me!
Tell us a little bit about the organization you volunteer at?
I have volunteered at Salmonberry School for years as a Board Member and as a parent. I have subbed in every classroom and even one day for a summer camp! Salmonberry offers holistic education. A lot of people may not know what that it is. It just means that they are teaching to the whole child, not just basic academics. Meeting children where they are is important, and everyone is different. Salmonberry offers grace to the children in a beautiful way. They are teaching not only math, reading, science, etc., but they are helping children engage emotionally, socially, and with their community and the world around them. A lot of the school-ish work will be taught through themes, so maybe you’ll be learning about a certain group of people or an animal or whatever, but that topic will be integrated into your group reading, math, and social studies, for example. The goal, for me as I understand it, is to help cultivate engaged learners, who understand who they are, and how they learn. Kids learn that learning is fun, and that school is a place where you can be yourself.
What does volunteering do for you?
I have enjoyed volunteering for numerous organizations over the years here on Orcas, and I do it because it brings me joy! I have never had a “bad day” volunteering, especially at Salmonberry. I would get asked how my day was after spending 6+ hours subbing in a classroom of kids with this expectation that I would respond with exhausted, tired, ready for a nap, what have you, but for me the answer was always the same — it was the best day ever! And I mean it every time. There is no better way to spend a day than with a room full of happy, rowdy, silly children.
If you would like to learn about other volunteer opportunities on Orcas, please email Ed. He would love to get together for tea/coffee to chat about your interests.