Photo by Ty Swenson
Julie Schickling (left) accepts the DNDC Volunteer of the Year award from Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark and DNDC's Michael Shilley on April 20.

The heroine from Highland Park: Julie Schickling is DNDC’s Volunteer of the Year

Julie Schickling and over 25 other area volunteers were honored at the Delridge Neighborhood District Council Gathering of Heroes celebration on April 20.

The evening was made possible by Michael Shilley and Holli Margell, who brought passionate neighborhood volunteers and reformers, along with their families and friends, together at the High Point Community Center to share a meal, celebrate achievements, and spark a conversation between heroes.

Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark and Christa Mazzone-Palmberg from Sound Alliance attended the event as speakers.

“Most neighborhoods don’t do what you are doing right now,” Clark said. “Most neighborhoods don’t take a moment during the course of the year to simply say thank you to one another and recognize good deeds. Most neighborhoods don’t have the number of people who step forward to get involved, they struggle with, ‘How are we going to get people to get out there and get involved?’”

After a few hours of robust conversation, Shilley said the number and quality of heroes nominated made for a tough decision, but Schickling was ultimately the Volunteer of the Year award winner for her work in bringing the Highland Park Improvement Club to life.

Highland Park resident and City of Seattle librarian Kay Kirkpatrick nominated Schickling and sung her praises at the event. Kirkpatrick said she moved to the Highland Park neighborhood in 1992 and, in 2005, rented the old hall for a birthday event “and her imagination took fire as she learned more about what the old building (it was a long time social hall) had been, and dreamed of what it might be possible of becoming.”

Kirkpatrick said Schickling was the driving force behind making the HPIC the “heart” of the neighborhood over the next several years by “putting together neighborhood gatherings, dances and parties, helping envision Highland Park’s first venture into a Farmers’ Market (in an urban food desert), … (and) working to change and redirect the focus of our efforts to be an inclusive, not exclusive social place.”

“Julie’s vision, tenacity and creative sense of possibility have and continue to help shape and build a heart for our neighborhood,” she summarized. “She is our unsung heroine.”

Schickling will also be nominated for the Jefferson Awards, a national "Nobel Prize for Community Service" as Councilmember Clark put it.

Here is a list of the other nominees celebrated at Gathering of Heroes 2012:

From Highland Park, Betsy Harris, Blair Johnson and Carolyn Stauffer.

In the High Point neighborhood, Mat McBride and Peter Miller.

From North Delridge, Gale Hurley, Dave Brown, Jake Vanderplas, Tammy and Chris Stewart, Amanda Leonard, Nancy Folsom, Betsy Hoffmeister, Vonetta Mangaoang, Patrick Baer, Parie Hines, Mike Dady, Micheal Taylor Judd and Benjamin Canfield.

From Puget Ridge, Pamela Dore and Tasha Mosher

From Pigeon Point, Gene Recker and Helen Shampain

In Westwood, Alejandra Ruiz Diaz (who was named the runner-up to Schickling).

Willard Brown, the Delridge Branch Library Homework Helper Team and the Longfellow Creek Stewards were also honored.

Neighborhood House donated the space for the event, Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes catering provided the food at a discounted rate, and the Delridge Day Committee helped out in addition to other sponsors.

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