Author: Wendy Morris

Q & A with AM Interns

I recently chatted with two of our interns, Ryan and Bethanie, about their internship experience. Ryan has been with us for a few months, and Bethanie for almost a year.

Wendy: How did you come to intern here?
Ryan: I was referred here by the Goodwill volunteer program. I needed volunteer hours to qualify for my education benefits and they helped me find a great match for my skillset.
Bethanie: I become an intern here at Associated Ministries through word of mouth. I needed to gather work experience, and had heard that AM was in need of volunteers and Interns.

W: What have you been learning while interning here?
R: I have been learning about the database software used by non-profits and using community calendars. I have also been learning about the businesses and churches that do volunteer work with Associated Ministries.
B: I have learned about client services and ways to be strength-based in my work with the clients. It has been an invaluable experience for me, and showed me exactly why I decided to work in this field. The tough decisions that need to be made regarding clients and staff members. It’s not easy to look at a homeless client and say “I’m sorry but I cannot help you.”

W: What is your goal to learn while here?
B: The original learning target I had set out for myself was to get some work experience in the human services field. It was after working here for a couple of months that I found exactly what I wanted to do; I want to learn how to be a better direct service provider.
R: I would like to learn more about the website software WordPress, and the logistics that go into planning events and fundraisers.

W: What has been the most interesting/informative thing you’ve learned while here? 
B: I would have to say the most interesting thing I have learned so far is just the sheer capacity of the effect on what AM does throughout the community. The most informative thing I have learned is that it’s okay to be human.
R: I have learned many interesting things so far in my time here, but one thing that stands out to me is that I learned how to repair and troubleshoot a laminating machine.

W: What has been the most challenging thing?
R: The most challenging thing for me here has been managing the number of tasks that need attention. There are always several projects lined up, and AM is doing important work!
B: The most challenging thing for me was at the beginning of my internship here and being able to talk to my co-workers and clients naturally. I wasn’t sure how to act or talk to people. It was touch and go for a while. It became easy after a while to loosen up and talk to people. The AM staff has a really good knack for making you feel comfortable here.

W: Why should people intern with us?
R: Associated Ministries has a wonderful environment, with great people who care about their work. The work itself is important too, and it’s gratifying to be of service to the community.
B: There are many different departments that are interconnected with each other that make it so you are never alone in one thing that you are doing. I’ve learned a great deal on what it is like to work for a non-profit agency. So if you want to help out the homeless community or even work more on administration come intern or volunteer at AM. You won’t regret it.

Join the Quest!

When does a pallet, a tarp, rope and binder clips equal 75? When you are putting them together to create a shelter at our AMAZING QUEST!

That is just one of the activities that folks can participate in at our first AMAZING QUEST to Understand Homelessness. This brand new community event is designed to educate the community and raise funds to fight homelessness. While you will not only be earning points for a chance at some terrific prizes, you will be learning about the issue of homelessness that affects thousands of people in our community.

AMAZING QUEST will take place on Saturday, October 7, beginning and ending at People’s Park in Tacoma and teams will visit various landmarks around the Hilltop neighborhood to play, learn, and win points. You may even encounter other places and people to gather extra points!

We are excited about this event and welcome all faith communities, businesses, service clubs and other organizations to sign up, as well as share about this fun event. How can you help?

  • Ask your staff to form one or more teams of 2-8 people and show up to demonstrate your concern about homelessness in Pierce County. This is a great way to show your support for those in need and interact with other participants and leaders, and a fun team-building activity.

  • Hang posters on bulletin boards, distribute flyers on counters and in break rooms, and post flyers in your window to encourage participation in this unique event.

  • Encourage your workplace team to collect pledges from family and friends; your business, faith community or organization could also make a donation to support the team and/or the event itself.

  • Consider being an official event sponsor, aligning your business with a compelling cause and showcasing your services before hundreds of participants.

  • Be a volunteer and help make this fun event be the happening place! Volunteer as young as 15 are needed for a variety of tasks.

So join us for a day of fun, music, food and being part of a community who cares. Check out our website at to learn more and sign up!  

Back to School Resources

by June Lee, Program Intern, Community Resource Center

It’s been documented over the past few years that the child poverty rate in our nation continues to be on the rise. Washington State is one of three states where child poverty is highest in our nation. Parents and families that are working hard to support their children by providing clothes, food, shelter, and a proper education are finding these tasks more and more difficult.

Non-profit and government agencies have been striving to address and assist in these areas of difficulty that many low income families are struggling with. We, at Associated Ministries, strive to contribute to our community and those individuals and families that are in need as our mission is to unite people of faith to build stronger communities. With the new 2017-2018 school year upon us, we want to thank the people in the community for their contributions, and ask for their continued support of donated school supplies to local agencies who are assisting students and families, to ease the burden of those families that cannot afford to obtain these school items for their children.

For those seeking help for their school-aged children, below is a list of places in Pierce County, starting in mid-August, you can visit for assistance.

Mountain View Community Center                                
3607 122nd Ave E Edgewood                
253-823-4329 August 26
School Back packs and Haircuts

Puget Sound Christian Center
4020 S 56th St Tacoma

10-12pm August 23
Back Pack School supplies, food, Kid zone

Lions 4 Kids
18429 89th St E, Bonney Lake

August 27th 3pm
Hair cuts

Life Care Center
1717 S Union Ave, Tacoma

August 27th 11a-2pm
School Supplies  

Life Care Center
8001 S J Street, Tacoma

August 27th 11a-2pm
School Supplies 

Life Center
17708 28th Ave E, Spanaway

August 28th 1p-4p 

Isaiah Thomas
8425 6th Ave, Tacoma

September 3rd 11a-2p
Back packs, Haircuts

Parkway Presbyterian
714 138th St E, Parkland

September 17th 9am-2pm

Help is needed to continue to Paint Tacoma Beautiful!

We are so thankful for our wonderful volunteers and appreciate all the hard work they have been doing the last few months to help paint the homes of low-income homeowners! 

However, in order to make sure all the homes scheduled for this summer get completed, we need help!  There has been an unexpected issue with getting enough paint, and we are seeking donations to help purchase what we need to paint the last few homes for the low-income homeowners. 

Any amount will help and you can donate at  Just select that your donation is for Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful.

On behalf of the homeowners participating in the program, thank you in advance for your generosity!

Paint Tacoma volunteers in action!

Paint Tacoma-Pierce Beautiful is a fun way to make our community more beautiful and serve neighbors in need! Each summer Associated Ministries mobilizes volunteers to paint houses for low-income homeowners, many of whom are elderly or disabled. Since 1985 more than 2,200 houses have been painted!

This summer, volunteers from 10 workplaces, 8 faith communities, 7 “friends and family” groups, 3 student groups, one labor union, and a host of motivated individuals have joined in to paint 27 houses. Some crews work on a house from start to finish (power-washing, scraping, priming and painting), while others serve for just one day. Whether serving for one day or many, all volunteers are appreciated!

As one homeowner told us, “It feels sooooo great to be pretty in the neighborhood. This is an amazing
program with amazing people!”

For more information about all the programs of Associated Ministries, please visit our website at

10 things you can do during summer heat waves to save a homeless person’s life

It’s getting hot out there.  For many of us it’s easy to find a cool place, whether work or home, that has air conditioning. Or go to a restaurant, drive in an air conditioned car, go to the mall, etc. People experiencing homelessness do not have those luxuries. In fact, their very survival is at stake.

People who are homeless can be particularly vulnerable to heat waves because they cannot easily stay cool or stay hydrated. Some living on the streets might have medical or substance issues that prevent them from thinking clearly and are in need of extra assistance.  Add this to heat and dehydration and you have a lethal combination. Moreover, heat waves are often not perceived as being as dangerous as cold weather.

People living on the street or in their car can take advantage of cooler air in public buildings such as Pierce County libraries, Tacoma Libraries and other public places, however going in to cool off at a local restaurant, coffee shop or movie theater, costs money they don’t have.

Here are ten things you can purchase and carry with you to hand out to people living on the street or in their car during the heat wave:

  • Frozen bottled water. Try to freeze (not just chill) bottled water before handing it out. The ice will melt slowly for drinking, but can also be used for general cooling. Freezing the bottles will provide a cold source that people can hold to their heads or necks or between their wrists.  “Enhanced” water that has electrolytes added to it is especially beneficial to help replace needs nutrients.
  • Water bottles. Consider handing out reusable, durable water bottles that can be refilled from public water sources.
  • Sunglasses. To be effective, Prevent Blindness America says glasses should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
  • Hats. Baseball hats, straw hats, anything-with-a-brim hats. This keeps the sun off the face and out of the eyes.
  • Umbrellas. They will help keep the sun from directly beating down on a person on the street. 
  • Bandanas. Dipped in water and draped around the neck or head, these can bring down temperatures significantly. When dipped in cold water, the cooling bandana will provide long-term relief and can be reused again and again.
  • Sunscreen. Great idea, but don’t give away that bottle you barely used last year. Sunscreen’s protective ingredients expire after 12 months. Don’t be cheap. Buy new bottles. The average adult needs about a shot glass worth of sunscreen per day in the sun to stay totally protected.
  • Zinc oxide ointment. This will keep lips and noses from burning and is much easier to carry and apply than sunscreen.
  • Bus passes. People in need can ride an air conditioned bus to help stay cool.
  • Fast food cards. Where people in need can go in and purchase a meal and sit for a time in a cool place.  If they do not purchase food, some establishments will ask them to leave. By enabling them to make a purchase you are helping not only feed them, but keep them cool too.   

As the temperatures begin to climb throughout Pierce County, the Department of Emergency Management reminds everyone to stay out of the heat as much as possible, stay hydrated, and check on elderly relatives and neighbors when temperatures soar.  They also recommend checking on those with chronic health concerns as they might be more susceptible to heat related illnesses. 

Those with low or fixed incomes are also at risk. Many of them are forced to choose between eating or turning on their air conditioner. Food often wins out and in extreme heat a fan is simply not enough to keep someone cool.

Do not leave children or pets in cars unattended – temperatures can quickly become deadly.  Take advantage of cooler air in public buildings such as Pierce County libraries, Tacoma Libraries, local malls, movie theaters, and other large stores.  People seeking relief from the heat by swimming in rivers risk cold shock and possibly drowning. 

 Exercise extreme caution and make sure to take care of one another.

Because of Everyone

From the Tacoma Buddhist Temple: June 2017 Newsletter (MYOKYO); The Sensei’s Message:

We at Tacoma Buddhist Temple hold Sunday Service in the morning of almost every Sunday. I always appreciate that you wake up early in the morning of your precious day-off and come to temple. The other day, I heard the following from Rev. Yukawa. Rev. Yukawa, who usually sits on the balcony, counted the number of attendees at a Sunday Service. He said that on that Sunday, there were about 80 attendees, and 50 of them were non-Japanese people. Of course, anyone is welcome regardless of Japanese or non-Japanese. But when I heard it, I was so surprised, and at the same time, I was so glad that not only Japanese people, but many different people come to our temple.  

Buddhism is the path which each of us walks toward the Enlightenment by understanding and practicing Truths taught by Sakyamuni Buddha. Because of that, Buddhism is also said to be “Buddha Path”. Among Buddhist teachings, the most fundamental teaching is “the Truth of Causes, Conditions, and Results.”

Holding a Sunday Service, this is the “cause”. But Sunday Service does not stand only with this cause. Your attendance, people who are MC and a pianist, the Kansho bell being rung, our chanting sutras, my giving Buddhist talks and having you nod and laugh (my talks are not so funny often though). With all of these as the “conditions,” enjoyable “Sunday Service” is realized as the “result” for the first time. But, if no one attended Sunday Service, or if no one nodded or laughed to my talks, the result of “enjoyable Sunday Service” were not realized, and I had to stand alone in the hondo hall with loneliness. That is to say, our Sunday Service stands or arises as Sunday Service because of every one of you.

Everything in the world arises not only because of causes but also due to conditions. In other words, under different conditions, everything ends up changing. It is taught in the Sutra of Queen Srimala as following;

Just as there are causes for people’s suffering and there is a path for each person’s enlightenment, everything arises depending on conditions, and everything disappears depending on conditions. The rain falls, the wind blows, flowers bloom, and leaves fall. Everything arises depending on conditions, and everything perishes depending on conditions. This body of mine was born through the conditions of my parents, it is sustained by the food I eat, and my mind is nurtured by my experiences and knowledge. Therefore, my both my body and my mind arise depending on conditions, and, of course, they are transformed depending on conditions… Just as a net is made of meshes connected together, all things are connected together. It is mistaken to think that each mesh of the net exists independently.

When we think about ourselves, it is clear that our existence entirely depends on conditions. As the Sutra teaches about a net made of meshes, we exist because of infinite connections with others. We were born in this world depending on precious conditions, and live now while having being receiving an unimaginably great number of things from others. Our present life also depends on many other “Lives” we interact with. There is nothing that does not depend on conditions. We, through listening to Buddha Dharma, are receiving Buddha’s eyes of Wisdom which sees through the truth of cause, condition, and result, and awakens us to the connection of Life, and Buddha’s mind of Compassion which respects and appreciates each other’s Life beyond self-and-other.

Gassho with palms together,
Rev. Kojo Kakihara

Community Resource Connection Center in Action

Community Resource Connection Center in Action by Debra Cole

I would like to share with you about one of our Community Resource Connections Center clients, Susan* (*her name is changed). She was looking for resources to assist her in finding a recliner before she had to have surgery on her neck and cervical spine. Due to this type of procedure she was given a strict set of rules to follow, one being to limit her mobility; restricting her to a specific area in her home.

She was in dire need of a reclining chair, one that was easy to function and the correct size for her height, and had been searching for weeks leading up her procedure. I told her about the Northwest Furniture Bank, however they did not have exactly what she was looking for.  Susan then turned to Hope Furnishings, the retail part of the Northwest Furniture Bank, where they were better able to assist her and even gave her a discounted price.

Susan, due to a limited income, did not have the funds to purchase the recliner, so again we spoke. I told her about Associated Ministries’ (AM) Family Emergency Funds (FEF) and how it may be able to help with part of the cost, which it was, but not the full amount. The AM staff recommended I contact St. Leo’s Catholic Church, who was gracious enough to assist us with the remaining amount. To make things easier, I went over to St. Leo’s and met with Jessica to pick up the check to have ready when she came for the one from us.

She recently called to thank me and our team, as she is all set up with her new chair in the home. Susan was overjoyed that we were able to assist her and cannot thank us enough. This touched my heart, because what we do here at AM is life changing. We are capable of doing what seems impossible and I feel so fortunate to be a part of an amazing team!




Ready to Serve in Times of Disaster

All of our communities will one day be affected by a disaster – whether natural, such as storms or earthquakes or a volcano erupting as Mt. St. Helens did 37 years ago today, or caused by accidental or deliberate human conduct. When that time comes, will you be ready to help?

Learn more about how you can help in times of disaster at a Care Teams training! Disaster Response Care Teams are groups of trained volunteers who provide support, compassion, and resources to those affected by disasters.  Training and materials are free!

The next Care Team training will take place on:

Saturday, June 10, 2017, 9 – 11 AM
Bethlehem Baptist Church
4818 Portland Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98404

The topic is Psychological First Aid – understanding the impact of disasters, and how to be a calming presence and emotional support to survivors. Coffee and refreshments will be served.

For more information visit our website at

Volunteer with Paint Tacoma

“I cried tears of joy. It looks beautiful. My house is beautiful.”

“On Social Security, I can’t afford to pay someone to paint my house. The volunteers’ help means the world to me.”

 “The crew was awesome. I’d be happy to recommend Paint Tacoma to anyone.”

These are a few of the words of gratitude shared by homeowners served by Paint Tacoma volunteers last year! You, too, can bring joy to low-income homeowners – most of whom are elderly or disabled – by serving as a Paint Tacoma volunteer.

Gather together friends, family, group members or coworkers to form a paint crew, or sign up as an individual and we’ll place you with a paint project. Whether you can serve for one day only, or can work on a project from start to finish, we can use your help!

Not into painting? There are other ways to get involved, from repairs, to supply delivery, to photography. For more information, contact Wendy Morris at or 253-426-1501.

Sign up to serve as a Paint Tacoma volunteer today!

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