Meet Amanda! RASKC is extremely happy to honor Amanda Radak as Volunteer of the Month for February. This Kent resident has contributed more than 3,800 hours since 2017, as a foster volunteer and by working shifts on the Early Morning Cat & Rabbit Crew, and on our Cat Meet & Greet Team in the pre-pandemic era. Amanda often offers insightful suggestions and always brings a “can do” attitude.

When Diana Fowler worked as a RASKC Animal Care Technician in 2018, she raved about this volunteer. She wrote, “Amanda is always busy, takes on HUGE extra tasks – like organizing the feed room – without prompting, making sure all supplies are fully stocked, constantly askes staff if we need anything, positive attitude. She’s just amazing, and I love her!”

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I grew up in Ohio with many fond memories. When I was young, my friend and I would hide from our moms when it was time to go home. We hid in a tree in my front yard. It always took our parents forever to find us – every time!

I’m married to an amazing man who tolerates all the foster animals coming in and out of the house. With my kids, who are now adults, with us at home, it’s great having family around.

We are definitely cat folk. We had been fostering so many cats from RASKC, though this winter we have been without cats for the first time in more than 18 years. Last summer we had to put down 21-year-old Charlie, our “golden oldie” foster of three years. At the same time, we had been fostering a momma cat and her litter of kittens for four months, then they went to their forever homes.

I work as an Event Planner. I’ve organized classes and retreats (not weddings) for seven years. I’ve been mostly unplanning them for the past two years, during which time I’ve gotten pretty good at managing mid-size Zoom meetings with 20 to 100 participants.

Q: What else do you do when you aren’t volunteering for RASKC?

A: I enjoy being outdoors, hiking biking, walking, or just watching the water. Gathering people is both my job and habit, so COVID has caused me to mix it up a lot. I also make things with string – knitting, weaving, embroidery, and sewing. I volunteer with King County’s Eco-Consumer program, mending at their repair events, where I enjoy meeting the people, seeing what they feel is worth fixing, and tackling a different repair with each guest.

I organize folks through the UU the Vote, with Reclaim Our Vote, to support voter access. There are too many places that restrict citizens from having a say in their government. I think every citizen should be able to easily vote. I really appreciate Washington’s voting practices and want to support easy voting elsewhere too.

I tend to work toward inclusion. Gathering the wallflowers is how I’d describe it, in general. I have my eye out for physical accessibility especially, which leads into questioning other types of assumptions that we make about people. For many years, I launched race conversations in white space as an intentional practice. Now voter access is a place that I put my energy.

Q: Describe some memorable moments you’ve had as a RASKC volunteer.

There are so many great people working for and with RASKC, especially the amazing vet staff. The day of my volunteer orientation, my cat (really, I was his person) had just seen our vet and was really struggling. Foster Care Coordinator Lori Mason made note of my silent sobbing over the ringworm section of the video. She delicately checked in and followed up later discreetly on my wellbeing.

A few years ago, my foster kitten Pleakley really struggled. He was part of a litter, but ended up with all the diseases that his siblings didn’t catch. It was touch and go. While the vet cared for the cat, she also tended to me in the process. She reminded me, “Sometimes we just have to know we’ve done everything we can.” Pleakley actually made it, but that permission granting was powerful.

When our hospice foster cat Charlie’s labs came back really poor, the staff was firm and set clear expectations. They also talked us through the process, what to expect, and welcomed us to stay as long as we wanted.

The entire Vet Clinic staff, including the vets, do a great job of tending to volunteers.

Q: What have you gained so far from your experience as a RASKC volunteer?

A: I initially started volunteering for positive interactions with my young teen, who wanted to volunteer and was too young to do so on his own. I really enjoyed working Meet & Greet, getting to know the guests, both human and feline, and playing matchmaker for families-to-be. Now, seeing the other volunteers and easing the workload for the county staff keep me coming back. Plus the cats and rabbits are adorable, what’s not to love?