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Riverview School District and Riverview Community Honored at 2023 Rise and Shine Volunteer Breakfast

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

Each year, Empower Youth Network (EYN) hosts the Rise & Shine Volunteer Recognition Breakfast, an event honoring volunteers who make a significant difference in the lives of valley residents. The event brings together students and community members from Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie, and North Bend, with nominators and recipients sharing the stage together.

This year’s Rise and Shine ceremony took place on Tuesday, June 7, at the Riverview School District ESC Assembly Hall. Awards were presented in the categories of “Youth,” “Volunteer,” and “Community,” while also providing scholarships to valley students. Between the Upper and Lower Snoqualmie Valley, more than 40 individuals were recognized for their hard work and commitment to volunteering in our shared communities.

Riverview-connected recipients from the event include:


  • James Wilkes, Cedarcrest High School, Bill Carlson Memorial Scholarship

  • Tejasvini Vijay, Cedarcrest High School, Sophie Theriault Youth Voice Scholarship

  • Avery Zlateff, Cedarcrest High School, Keep It Local Snoqualmie Valley Scholarship

  • Kayla Hampton, Cedarcrest High School, Pathways to Employment Success Scholarship


Rowan Gladwell | Tom O’Dell | Jakob White, Cedarcrest High School (nominated by Tara Bergman)

Rowan Gladwell, Tom O’Dell, and Jakob White were recognized for serving as student riders and Junior Assistant Coaches to the Cedarcrest Mountain Bike Club/Team, a program for students in grades 6-12 in the Riverview School District. Tara Bergman spoke as nominator and praised each student individually for modeling an inspiring work ethic and exhibiting dedication, focus and commitment to not only their skills on the course but as inspiring mentors and leaders to their fellow student-athletes.

Tejasvini Vijay, Cedarcrest High School (nominated by Lori Oviatt and Dr. Susan Leach)

Tejasvini Vijay was honored for her work as a Student Representative on the School Board and for her capacity to learn and try new things. As a natural leader and advocate, with a passion for social justice, Tejasvini is deeply involved in amplifying student voice and creating safe spaces to allow all voices to be heard. She is involved in local and national initiatives around causes and programs which amplify marginalized and vulnerable communities and, in her two years as a Student Representative to the School Board, Tejasvini has assisted Riverview in creating stronger policies around equity and inclusion, while serving as a liaison between students across the Riverview School District and the School Board of Directors.

Chris Paz-Mercado, Cedarcrest High School (nominated by Tracie Kelly)

Chris Paz-Mercado is an outspoken student advocate at Cedarcrest High School with Empower Youth Network’s (EYN) mentoring program. In working with EYN, he has become the first high school student to be accepted as an EYN mentor. Chris’ involvement in the EYN mentoring program has not only raised awareness among high schoolers about the program but has also inspired additional students in our communities to consider mentoring younger students and positively impacting youth in our Valley.

VOLUNTEER (an award presented to a volunteer working directly with EYN)

Kathryn Thompson, Tolt Middle School (nominated by Jami Au)

As a consistent volunteer with the Weekend Power Packs program, Kathryn Thompson has helped cultivate and sustain EYN’s food sustainability program by picking up and delivering packs each week, making extra trips as needed to get additional packs as needed, while ensuring that those facing food insecurity never go without a meal. Dutch Siedentopf (nominated by Karla Russell)

“Coach Dutch” has worked with students in both the Riverview and Snoqualmie Valley School Districts, presenting meaningful workshops with EYN’s Pathways to Employment Success program. In working with students on developing soft skills, including effective communication, students become more successful through their high school experiences and become well-prepared for a post-high school pathway.


Chad Amble | Issaquah Cedar & Lumber (nominated by Kappie Ayers and Riverview Education Foundation)

With a “kids first” attitude, Chad Amble and Issaquah Cedar & Lumber donate considerable time, energy, and financial support to a wide array of non-profit organizations in the Riverview Community. Chad serves on a variety of boards for non-profits and further gives back to his community by hiring local high school students when opportunities arise. His efforts leave a lasting impact and support students and families in achieving their best academically, socially, emotionally, and in athletics.

Don Fisher & Heidi Fisher | Carnation Café & Lounge (nominated by Helene Wentink)

Don and Heidi Fisher are outstanding community partners and owners of Carnation Café & Lounge. They are an organization which gives any way they can – whether through the catering of community events, hosting of events and meetings in their restaurant and lounge, or in offering financial or promotional support for non-profits and organizations in the Valley. Mickey Davidson (nominated by Karen Worline)

Concluding 12 consecutive years of service to the Riverview Learning Center PTSA Board, Mickey Davidson has served in a variety of roles and taken on countless responsibilities during her tenure. Her positivity never wavers, and her commitment to community building and raising awareness about Riverview Learning Center’s programs has helped create community and strengthen connections across the school.

Leo Tenney (nominated by Wes Bergman)

Leo Tenney brings community together through hosting a weekly Pokemon Club at Remlinger Farms. Nominator Wes Bergman shared that Leo is inspirational and supportive and has created a space where people can build friendships, connection, and share in the fun of playing the popular game. Participants can win prizes and Leo supplies all the materials needed for these weekly events. Ann Marie Gill (nominated by Tara Bergman)

As a professional website developer, Ann Marie Gill has worked with numerous non-profit organizations in the community to help businesses and organizations effectively communicate to their audiences and improve and broaden reach and impact for all she works with. Ann Marie also has expanded the fundraising reach of the Cedarcrest High School Band Boosters, helping them create a website which has increased the ease with which they can raise money to support the Cedarcrest High School Band program.

Sara Balsley (nominated by Kyla Page)

A tireless volunteer and student and community advocate, with children’s success at the heart of her work, Sara Balsley volunteers for Carnation Elementary, the Riverview PTSA Council and seemingly all schools in the Riverview School District. Her understanding of the connection between PTSAs, schools, and parents, students, and families, enhances the understanding that an engaged PTSA organization has a direct impact on the student experience – increasing test scores, graduation rates, engagement in activities as just a few examples. Barb Lewis (nominated by Kaila Russell)

A faithful volunteer for the Tolt Congregational United Church of Christ in Carnation, Barb Lewis oversees the weekly food bank program with Tolt UCC, and organizes and facilitates the church’s free community meal each week, serving hundreds of meals per month. She works with middle school and high school volunteers and shows all who work with her how to serve a community with a cheerful, friendly presence, while also empowering others around her to succeed. Kappie Ayers (nominated by Mike Ward)

With her involvement in a variety of non-profit organizations throughout the Valley, Kappie Ayers is seemingly everywhere. As the current president of Riverview Education Foundation, she oversees the coordination of fundraising events and a grants program, which provides nearly tens of thousands of dollars in donations back into Riverview School District each year. She coordinates events for Cedarcrest Select Basketball, Cedarcrest High School’s basketball and baseball teams, and has served in a variety of roles on PTSA boards through the years. She commits to ensuring that children from all communities feel welcome, seen, and heard, while extending the same to adults she works with and supports in her endeavors.

Robert Gilliam (nominated by Lindsay Gilliam)

Serving as President of the Board of Directors for Carnation Farmers Market, Robert Gilliam has been an integral part in revitalizing the Carnation Farmers Market for a growing and expanding community. With the market’s focus on promoting healthy living and community engagement, Gilliam has led efforts to implement food access programs in the Valley and introduced the Power of Produce Kids Club and live music and activities to the Farmers Market experience. His dedication as a leader in community collaboration and volunteerism has been vital to the success of the Carnation Farmers Market. To see a complete list of all Rise & Shine honorees, please view the video montage of all honorees and recipients from this year’s event, courtesy of Empower Youth Network, provided below:

Please join us in congratulating not only these Riverview-connected honorees, but all those honored throughout the Snoqualmie Valley for their community-minded volunteerism.


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