October 2021 Exceptional Youth Volunteer: Sierra Wollen
Meet Sierra! RASKC is enormously pleased to award Sierra Wollen with Exceptional Youth recognition. This Kent resident started fostering in 2013 with her mom Marlene when Sierra was a teenager. Since that time, Sierra has contributed over 400 hours!
“I started fostering cats and kittens at RASKC when I was a senior in high school. While it was an unconventional hobby, I quickly fell in love with it, and before I knew it my house was filled to the brim with kittens.
“When I started college at the University of Washington, fostering kittens became impossible with a roommate. So I took in a senior kitty named Missy who had been in the shelter for too long and was aggressive towards volunteers. On the surface, Missy wasn’t a very adoptable cat: she was 12, overweight, and had a host of health issues. Soon after I started fostering her, Missy was losing weight, playing like a kitten, and curling up in bed with me every night. Missy was my first foster failure, and we have been best friends ever since.
“My family consists of myself, my partner Kyle, my two brothers and their significant others, my mom, and five cats. My mom, Marlene, is the catalyst of my journey with RASKC. She allowed me to take in countless kittens that first year when I was living at home. She is now a flight attendant at Alaska Airlines, enjoying her retirement career traveling around the United States.
“We have three RASKC foster failures in our family unit, and two more cats who were adopted from a shelter in Chicago. Our two cats are Missy (adopted in 2014) and Symi (adopted in 2017). Missy has a reputation for knowing exactly what she wants, and somehow being both feisty and loving in equal measure. After I started dating Kyle in 2017, Missy quickly decided she was Kyle’s cat, and the two became inseparable. We then adopted Symi, a sweet and silly girl, after fostering her and her siblings. We also fostered a playful and affectionate tortie kitten last year who my brother Alec and his girlfriend Makayla adopted and named Brandy. During the pandemic the cats have thoroughly enjoyed all the extra time spent together while we are working from home.
“My fondest memories of RASKC are my interactions with Foster Care Coordinator Lori Mason in the f vet clinic. She has a bottomless well of passion and energy that is truly admirable.
“Fostering the kittens and cats themselves is also such a treat. There is nothing more rewarding to me than working with a semi-feral or scared kitten who starts to purr or relaxes in your hands for the first time. Foster volunteers teach animals that the world isn’t such a scary place after all. What a gift to be able to provide that!
“After completing my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work at the University of Washington, I am now working full-time as a Research Coordinator at an organization called Partners for Our Children, housed at the University of Washington. I can’t seem to leave UW! I have no doubt that I will continue to volunteer with RASKC for the rest of my life.
Thank you, Sierra!