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Working Stiff

Sunnyside's Promise administrator believes in helping youths succeed

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Lisa Fairbairn, administrative assistant for Sunnyside's Promise, finds her work with the organization the most rewarding of her life. Fairbairn is also involved in her church's religious education program.

Sunnyside resident Lisa Fairbairn was at a crossroads when the job as administrative assistant for Sunnyside's Promise group fell into her lap.

She wanted to be involved in her son's classroom at school and still be able to work. Volunteering her time at her church, Fairbairn, a Sunnyside native, learned of the position with Sunnyside's Promise, a group devoted to providing opportunities for youth.

After being hired for the part-time position, Fairbairn began organizing and planning all of the meetings and special events sponsored by Sunnyside's Promise.

"I work directly with the board to make decisions on what kinds of projects will work," said Fairbairn.

The group is devoted to five promises it has made to local youths-providing educational opportunities, developing marketable skills, establishing safe places, making available caring adults and ensuring for kids there are opportunities to serve.

"I make sure there are no holes or duplications when it comes to meeting the goals," said Fairbairn.

One of the activities Fairbairn has helped organize is the annual Promise to Read event, including Book the Chief day.

Heavily focused on reading, Sunnyside's Promise recently donated 1,200 books to Outlook School, said Fairbairn.

Sunnyside's Promise also partners with other activities as a way to pool resources and be more visible in the community, according to Fairbairn. She said the group helps on activities such as National Night Out and Red Ribbon week.

Sunnyside's Promise is planning a Promise to Succeed event for April 14. She said the group will be bringing in comedian Jeremy Huffman. The group will also be holding an open mic night in conjunction with Huffman's evening performance.

Fairbairn said the group's always looking for new ways to involve youth.

Fairbairn said she has worked in a variety of different settings, including floral shops and for a while she worked with her brother, who was the first person to have ice cream trucks in Sunnyside. But she considers her work with Sunnyside's Promise the most rewarding.

"It's about quality of life for the kids in Sunnyside," said Fairbairn.

"My son's young and if we don't try to correct the problems we have now, what's it going to be like when he gets to high school?" she asked.

For as many obstacles as are facing the youth of Sunnyside, Fairbairn said there are also wonderfully caring adults and young people with great ideas.

"These kids have awesome ideas and we just need to listen and to give them a chance," she said.

Fairbairn feels she is lucky to be able to help the youth of the community and still have the time to volunteer at her church. She added that her schedule also gives her the opportunity to help in her 8-year-old son, Hank's, classroom. Fairbairn also has two adult stepsons and will be a grandmother next month.

. Melissa Browning can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail mbrowning@eaglenewspapers.com

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