North Seattle volunteer inspires others

Caroline Ullmann first learned about Children’s Home Society of Washington when she was a newspaper reporter writing about children’s issues. She did a story about CHSW’s former residential homes in the Ravenna neighborhood and was impressed with the work of our agency, and its long legacy in Washington state. Years later she wanted to donate teddy bears and learned about the Holiday Helper Program at CHSW’s North Seattle Family Resource Center in Lake City. The program provides much-needed items and gifts to our families every holiday season.

“I wanted to make a difference in my local community and do something year-round in addition to helping during the traditional holiday giving time,” Caroline said.

Caroline is currently the assistant communications director at The Seattle Public Library where she works three days a week at the Central Library in downtown Seattle, and she volunteers on her days off.

Over time, she has established strong relationships with our staff at the North Seattle Family Resource Center and has developed a personal connection with our families.

“Children have not chosen to be in difficult situations,” Caroline said. “Strengthening families and raising happy, healthy, confident children is an investment in the future. It’s the right thing to do.”

Buying needed items such as school supplies, backpacks, diapers and winter coats along with collecting donations and handling outreach communications for giving opportunities are some of the many ways Caroline has helped Children’s Home Society of Washington. She also oversees distribution and sorting of holiday gifts.

“I use social media to raise awareness and donations for families in need through a Buy Nothing group on Facebook,” Caroline said. “You would be surprised how many people want to help if you ask.”

Caroline’s family and friends also believe in volunteering and giving back. Her parents volunteered and supported a variety of children’s services. Her husband, Mike, was a co-founder for a nonprofit to keep seniors in northeast Seattle safe in their homes. A friend of Caroline’s volunteered at a domestic violence shelter before being hired, while another volunteered at a military retirement home.

“We can all do our part,” Caroline said. “Identify what you like to do and are comfortable doing. There are lots of ways to help. I like that volunteering at CHSW is a positive steady drum beat in my life.”

We are so grateful to have dedicated and passionate volunteers like Caroline.

Ann Fuller serves as director of North King County at Children’s Home Society of Washington.