A diverse group gathers once a month in Sammamish to talk about what’s best for kids and how to work better together on behalf of children on the Plateau.
With members representing PTA groups, the police, the city and more, the Greater Plateau Tri-Awareness group was founded in 1996 to share information and ideas.
“Everyone who attends really has a passion and heart for kids in our community,” said Laura Peterson, the group’s facilitator. “We come, share and collaborate because it directly benefits the kids in our community — and that makes it an energetic and worthwhile meeting.”
The group has included representatives from the Lake Washington and Issaquah school districts, the Sammamish City Council, city staff members, the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, youth leadership and area churches, the Boys and Girls Club, the Sammamish Library and others. The “Tri” part of the name refers to PTSA/PTA, businesses and community/city groups.
“We creatively network with one another to help make our community a safe and exceptional place for children and youth to live, attend school, work and play,” the group’s mission statement reads.
What that boils down to, Peterson says, is building a better-connected support network for kids.
“I also think Tri-Awareness members take pride in collaborating to present a variety of avenues and resources for kids to become involved and make a difference in their local community and around the world,” Peterson wrote in an e-mail interview.
At the meetings, members talk about upcoming events for kids as well as broader topics such as Internet safety, drug, alcohol and suicide awareness and prevention, and other topics. They’re also throwing their support behind the effort to build a teen center in Sammamish, Peterson said.
Group member and former co-chair Jan Bromberg, who heads up the Sammamish Citizens Corps, said she got involved to try to find a way to spread the word about emergency preparedness.
“It’s amazing how, on a monthly basis when we get together, we discover methods for working together on a project,” Bromberg said. She emphasized the importance of sharing information and cooperating.
Bromberg recalled one meeting where representatives from two schools said they had events going on simultaneously, so the police representative at the meeting called for extra patrols to help with traffic and improve overall safety.
In years past, the group organized a Safety Fair, which is now coordinated by the Citizens Corps. It also inspired an effort at Blackwell Elementary School that ultimately changed the flow of traffic at the school to make it safer for kids and families walking and riding bikes, Peterson said.
“Blackwell worked with School District officials, county engineers, local law enforcement and state grant funds to make this happen – utilizing flashing crosswalks, new safety signage, traffic slowing structures, police presence and driver and pedestrian education,” Peterson said. “It was a very successful program.”
More recently, one of the Tri-Awareness meetings spawned the idea for a Challenge Day. The Oprah-endorsed event is being organized by Sosie Sagherian and City Council member and Friends of Youth donor relationship officer Michele Petitti.
“I find (Tri-Awareness) a great source for taking the community’s pulse, especially as to what is going on with our young people,” Petitti wrote in an e-mail.
Friends of Youth is sponsoring two Challenge Day events, which will bring together teens from both school districts, Aug. 20 and 21 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Pine Lake Covenant Church in Sammamish.
Tri-Awareness meetings are open to community members. The next meeting — the final one of the school year — is at 9 a.m. June 10 at City Hall, 801 228th Ave. S.E., in the conference room across the hall from the police station. Meetings will begin again in September.