The 2022 Multi-Service Center luncheon raised $101,030 to support the local community in finding help, hope and change.
Held on Oct. 20 at the Federal Way Performing Arts and Event Center, the event welcomed community members and city and civic leaders.
Keynote Speaker Judge Glenda Hatchett, who is a founding partner of a law firm and stars in reality television court shows, discussed the intersection of purpose, passion and power, particularly when it comes to the power of education in helping children find stable life paths.
At the event, attendees also heard a personal story from a local resident named Adam, whose path led to the MSC after years of struggling with substance abuse and homelessness. Adam is the Mirror’s Hometown Hero for the month of October.
“Honestly if I didn’t get help at MSC, I’d probably be in jail, in an institution, or I’d be dead,” he said during the event’s video presentation. “I was in survival mode.”
At 13, he began living on the street. At 18, he called his sister for help and she assisted in connecting him with the MSC’s resources. He worked with the nonprofit’s education and employment programs to attend Highline College and build work experience.
After several curves in the road and a geographical relocation, Adam later reached a stable point in his recovery. He, his wife and his son moved back to the Federal Way area in 2019. Now at age 32, he owns a house, is a present father and family man, and works for the world’s largest electronics company, he said.
He has also worked with juvenile offenders and kids in halfway houses, he said. His experiences allowed him to relate to these young people in similar situations, but also to offer hope that things can change for the better.
“So for me, I just want to give back again to what’s been so freely just given to me,” he said.
The MSC provides several resources to help with social mobility, such as housing supports, education and other necessary resources to live a stable life.
The Multi-Service Center’s Help, Hope, Change award was presented to Marty Kooistra. Kooistra is a “champion of coalition-based work at the intersection of community development, equity, and affordable housing,” according to MSC. He is the project manager of Black Home Initiative (BHI), a regional effort to address the systemic injustices in housing systems.
He has assisted with home buyer financial readiness, subsidy and financial sustainability policies, the rehabilitation and preservation of foreclosed and distressed properties, and the design and development of affordable high-performance housing.
Kooistra has also served as executive director and board president of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County where he formed several coalitions and networks, including Seattle for Everyone.