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City Vision connects resources for better living in Federal Way

A grass-roots group hopes to connect the dots in the name of making Federal Way a better place to work, play and live.

City Vision is finalizing its non-profit status, with an official launch tentatively slated for October. The group’s overall goal is to build bridges and play matchmaker with residents and local organizations. Instead of doling out money, the group will cultivate volunteers and resources that meet a range of needs in the community.

“We call it connecting the dots,” said Brian Michael, a community liaison for City Vision. “There’s so many people willing to help and reach out.”

City Vision already has one project under way, working with local churches to establish a system for severe weather shelters in the winter and summer. Several churches in Federal Way serve as shelters, and City Vision wants to maximize the community’s connection to this resource.

“We’re connecting the Multi-Service Center with these churches that are already doing it in their own way to set up more of a uniform protocol,” Michael said.

The scope of City Vision’s projects would go beyond the at-risk population to benefit the overall community. Organizers hope to form a board that represents a cross-section of Federal Way institutions such as schools, churches and senior centers.

“It’s more of a mediating institution, bringing together people of like minds for situations the city cannot deal with,” said Greg Vicars, interim president of City Vision.

Vicars, a 32-year resident of Federal Way, hopes the group will bring cohesion and spirit to the community when addressing quality of life issues.

“We realized we need to work together to create an organization that deals with those issues systematically,” he said.

The idea was inspired by “coffee circles” first organized by Federal Way human services department in 2009. The events brought together community leaders and citizens to discuss how to meet the needs of Federal Way residents. Discussions focused on topics such as homelessness, food banks, crime rates, affordable housing and access to basic human services.

“We started these coffee circles about a year ago with the hope that we’d get a few people and solve the world’s problems,” Federal Way human services manager Lynnette Hynden told The Mirror in April 2010. She was unavailable to comment for this story, but said in a report last year that the feedback from coffee circles would influence 2011-2012 human services funding.

City Vision is made possible by seed money the city received in 2010 — a United Way New Solutions Impact Council grant worth $10,000. City Vision does not receive the money directly, but rather through the coordination services of Terri Campbell, human services program director for Federal Way. The partnership involves a collaborative approach between City Vision and Federal Way to address basic needs in the community.

“It’s really a good group,” Campbell said of City Vision, which consists of a five-member board of volunteers. “I think you’re going to see more of them out in the community as leaders taking care of things.”

Learn more

Stay tuned for upcoming reports on the projects by City Vision as well as the organization’s official launch. To learn more, visit fwcityvision.org.

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