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Park Cleanup | HomeStreet Bank

Volunteer
Spotlight

Cleaning Up Alki Beach with Jessica Santana

Jessica Santana, an Affinity Loan Officer at the Home Office in Seattle, had taken notice of how much garbage ends up on the beach, and thought about how that affects animals in the ocean. “I live on Alki, and was talking with a friend about my concerns. She suggested we start cleaning once a month and I loved the idea! So that is how it started.” From there, discontent turned into action, and now an ongoing park cleanup project.

She reached out to the Seattle Parks department for direction. “They were amazing. Immediately got us a box of pick-sticks, garbage bags, and offered to give us gloves. They really want to make sure we have all we need.” Volunteering activities typically consist of tasks that don’t require expertise or training, but rather a resource much more valuable: time.

Beyond just volunteering her time, is the fact that Jessica is leading a group of other people. Getting just one other person involved in what you’re doing immediately doubles the impact of the volunteer task. After deciding on the “first Saturday of each month at 11am”, Jessica wanted to extend this opportunity past her close group of friends. The ongoing project is posted both on the City’s and HomeStreet’s volunteer sites. “People see us picking up garbage and thank us. I know we will slowly have more people join as they watch us and feel inspired.” The number of volunteers has grown each month, with the third project coming up on Saturday, May 5th at Schmitz Park.

Once she volunteers for at least 30 hours this year, she’ll be eligible for HomeStreet’s $500 Volunteer Grant. The grant is payable to the organization, in honor of the employee’s long-term volunteer commitment. With the grant, Jessica hopes it will go towards securing the lids on existing recycling and garbage cans in the parks. 

Cleaning up the parks in West Seattle has changed the way Jessica views her community. Now, the trash seems to stand out amongst the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. “I find myself always picking up garbage, not only once per month.” Any employees interested in volunteering with Jessica in West Seattle can sign up through HomeStreet’s Community Portal

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