The RASKCAL Reporter| Issue # 34| December 2019

The RASKCAL Reporter

In this Issue:                                                                                            December 2019

RASKC ranks in County Executive’s top 2019 achievements


King County Executive Dow Constantine recently released the County’s top 19 achievements for 2019. RASKC’s work made the list, citing the 95% save rate for our animals! Go here to read about RASKC's live release rate, a stunning statistic for a public-sector open-admissions animal shelter. The credit for this amazing achievement goes to RASKC's dedicated team of 44 staff, more than 800 volunteers, and strong support from Executive Constantine.

RASKC recognizes Volunteer of the Month: Karolyn Grimes


Meet Karolyn! RASKC is extraordinarily pleased to honor Karolyn Grimes, who has been serving delightfully since 2014. Karolyn comes in at least once a week for Cat Meet & Greet work, and she contributes many fill-in shifts to help cover other volunteers’ absences.  She also helps to train new volunteers. When RASKC hosted holiday giftwrapping fundraisers at Barnes and Noble for several years, Karolyn was one of the most reliable volunteers- both staffing the table and providing transport for the materials. Karolyn also staffs RASKC’s booth at other community events.

Karolyn will always have a special place in RASKC’s heart for connecting us with Seattle Meowtropolitan Café. Several years ago when the New York Times mentioned Meowtropolitan as one of many cat cafes across the country that were getting ready to open, Karolyn clipped the article to give to RASKC chief Dr. Gene Mueller. Dr. Gene called the cat café’s owner, who had not yet established where Meowtropolitan would get their cats. The rest is history!

To read an interview with Karolyn, go to our website or blog.    

If you are interested in becoming a RASKC volunteer, please register for new volunteer orientation- for Saturday, January 11, or for Tuesday, January 14, in Kent, go here; for Saturday, January 18  in Kirkland, go here.

Honor roll: Volunteers of the Month 2019 in review


RASKC heartily commends the service contributed by over 800 volunteers so far this year, especially the 2019 Volunteers of the Month—

January: Leisa Murray (Early Morning Cat Crew)

February: Denise Kovecs (Covington Petco Cat-Care Team)

March: Jini Allen (Covington Cat-Care Team)

April: Pati Ramos and Luke West (Fosters)

May: Dawn Detweiler (Cat Meet & Greet)

June: Dalen Elenzano (Vet Clinic)

July: Shannon Weiler (Cat Meet & Greet)

August: Carrie Driscoll (Tukwila Petco Cat-Care Team)

September: Tiffany Morin (Pet Publicist Team)

October: Webb Family (Fosters)

November: Shawn Lee (Reber Ranch Cat-Care Team)

December: Karolyn Grimes (Cat Meet & Greet)

Spotlight on Exceptional Youth: Sthavir Sumanam


Meet Sthavir! RASKC honors Exceptional Youth Volunteer Sthavir Sumanam, a longtime volunteer on RASKC’s Kirkland Pet-Care Team. An eighth grader, straight-A student and member of the National Junior Honor Society, Sthavir serves on the City of Kirkland's Youth Council. He also registers voters and pre-registers others as part of the work of the Indian Association of Western Washington. Sthavir also volunteers at a food bank and at a rescue organization for parrots. He is a Presidential Youth Volunteer Service awardee for the past three years.

Sthavir volunteers with his mom Sowmya Yabaluri, who works as a pharmacist and manager. She is fluent in English, Telugu, and Hindi. Sthavir describes his mother as caring, helpful, and hard working. “She always supports my decisions and always tries to help me accomplish my goals.”  

Sowmya said, “I like volunteering for RASKC at Kirkland Petco, because giving back to my community helps me grow. I am most proud of Sthavir for how he maintains integrity and overcomes challenges with a positive attitude. He is caring, respectful, and kind. Sthavir likes to help others and has compassion for those in need. He is incredibly independent, hard working, and makes good decisions.”

RASKC is so happy that Sthavir and Sowmya made the terrific decision years ago to volunteer at Kirkland Petco!

Limelight on Outstanding New Volunteer: Dr. Gina Dembinski


Meet Gina! RASKC shines the limelight on Outstanding New Volunteer Gina Dembinski in light of her skills, upbeat attitude, and fantastic dedication in two roles- Dog Walker and Shelter Helper. Since she started last year, Gina has come to the shelter for over 120 shifts so far to wash dishes, do laundry, and walk dogs.

Gina said, “Walking dogs on Sundays is one of the hightlights of my week. I also enjoy my other role at the shelter. The staff are always so grateful for the Shelter Helper work I contribute. I feel the impact that these simple tasks can make in helping not only the animals in need, but also to those individual who provide care directly to them on a daily basis. We’re all working towards the same goal!”

Gina grew up with dogs outside of Detroit, Michigan, with a black Lab, a Toy Fox Terrier, an Akita mix, a black German Shepherd mix, and a Golden Doodle. She volunteered at an animal shelter in Pittsburgh before she moved here for a job that she loves.

Gina works as a forensic DNA analyst. She earned four college degrees, including a Ph.D. in biology, before she turned 30 years old. She enjoys running and has completed two half-marathons. Gina also likes watching movies, doing puzzles, tasting wine, playing the piano, reading (especially true crime), and outdoor exploring.

Fun fact: “I love pigs. They have been my favorite animal since I was little. Now I collect almost anything that’s pig-related.”