When Foster High School senior Rinny Tun learned about the Tukwila Community Connectors program, he jumped at the chance to join.
Connectors serve as liaisons between city staff and Tukwila’s diverse communities, helping the city build toward more equitable community engagement.
“Learning about the government is interesting,” Rinny said. “I thought it was important to get myself to do that, and then to help other kids like me connect with civic engagement.”
Having served as a Connector for a year and a half, Rinny has accomplished his goal of serving as a bridge between the city and his community.
“Meeting with city officials was very interesting because it gave me that network, and the resources to utilize in my own community,” he said. “Connecting with human services staff was especially good, because when I know community members are going through something, I can connect them with the right person.”
Another benefit of the program has been building his own advocacy and leadership abilities. Niesha Brooks, Global to Local’s leadership and engagement manager, mentors the Connectors, and also has helped Rinny find additional opportunities to grow his skills and network. She encouraged him to join a three-day leadership development training with the Healthy King County Coalition that he found particularly impactful.
“That’s how you connect with people. For leadership, that’s important. I used to be a little shy kid. Now I’m almost outspoken. I’m on my way,” he said with a laugh.
A future in community service
With high school graduation around the corner, Rinny has his future on his mind.
“I want to go to college. And I want to hopefully be able to take on more tasks from the community.”
Rinny is considering a career in medicine, with aspirations to “open a private clinic and help low-income families.” Or, inspired by his volunteer work with FIGHT – Formerly Incarcerated Group Healing Together, he might advocate full-time for criminal justice system reform.
Whatever path he chooses, Rinny is committed to using his skills and energy to lift up community members who have been underrepresented — particularly Southeast Asians, refugees, youth, and people with low incomes.
“I want to do something transformative. Helping people grow — go from low-income to middle class, get resources they need, overcome barriers, like language barriers — that’s a big thing,” he said.
Learn more about our Community Connectors program
Contact Niesha Brooks: email@example.com or (206) 375-5031.