Positive aging awards for three local women

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Three local women were given awards at Sound Generations’ June 20th Inspire Positive Aging Awards Luncheon.

Sound Generations, formerly Senior Services, is the parent organizations for King county senior centers including the Shoreline - Lake Forest Park Senior Center. 

Local women and the organizations they volunteer for:
  • Jemanesh Demisse (Community Service award): Dale Turner YMCA, Tilth Alliance
  • Dianne Hansen (Intergenerational Impact award): Shoreline Public Library and SWEL Timebank
  • Natalia Mendez (Defining Inspiration award): SeaMar's Lake City Latino Senior Group

Jemanesh Demisse, 72 (right)
Jemanesh Demisse, 72
Community Service.

Jemanesh is dedicated to helping the underserved elders in King County's East African community. She has been working with the East African Senior Meals Program at the Yesler Community Center for over eight years, preparing nutritious and culturally relevant meals for over 50 elders each Thursday and Saturday.

She has demonstrated leadership by actively recruiting volunteers for the meals program and Rainer Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, and she is not afraid to go out of her way to assist a community member. She is the first to first to fundraise when someone is in need, the first to visit a community member in the hospital, and cheers on the younger generation at graduation ceremonies.

Despite her recent health challenges her dedication to her community is unwavering. Her nominator said, “Jemanesh has a heart of gold… [She] taught me that one can be humble and give without the expectation of getting anything in return.”

Dianne Hansen, 71 (right)
Dianne Hansen, 71
Intergenerational Impact

Dianne is admired for her work as a volunteer tutor and piano teacher in her community. She generously devotes her time to tutoring young children at the Shoreline Public Library, and through the SWEL Timebank discovered her passion for teaching piano lessons.

This inspired Dianne to offer free piano lessons to children whose families couldn't afford private lessons. Dianne also purchased keyboards and music books that she'd loan to students so they could practice at home. 

She now devotes time to her 12 young piano students but still finds time to dedicate to other causes, including piano lessons for retiree and working mother students, general tutoring, teaching ESL classes, and sewing classes. 

Her patience, compassion and enthusiasm is infectious, and she is an inspiration to all who know her.

Natalia Mendez, 76 (right)
Natalia Mendez, 76
Defining Inspiration

Those who know Natalia are inspired by her positivity and selflessness. Natalia emigrated from Pueblo, Mexico to Yakima when she was 34, where she raised four children on her own and was known in the community for bringing meals to less fortunate families. 

She continues to embody this spirit of kindness today, spending hours each week preparing delicious Mexican food to share with SeaMar's Lake City Latino Senior Group. Even though she struggles with chronic pain after a car accident, she remains active physically and is always willing to try new activities like yoga and dancing. 

At an event celebrating the independence days of Latin American countries last year, Natalia sang a song from Mexico in front of the lunch crowd. Her nominator described her voice as "soulful, strong, and inspiring" - just like Natalia herself.


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