Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Meet the RTS Staff: Claire Oatey

Introducing our Program & Development Intern, Claire Oatey! Claire has been at RTS since July and we are thrilled to have her on Board! Let's get to know Claire:

1. How did you first hear about Rebuilding Together Seattle?

The first time I really took the time to learn about RTS was when I came across an article in the Seattle Times last April. I had heard of RTS before but this article, which was describing the 25 homes that were rebuilt on Spring Rebuilding Day, caught my attention. At the time I was neck deep in my senior thesis and completely absorbed in my own world. Hearing about how the community back in my hometown was coming together to help their neighbors really touched me. The idea of returning to Seattle and giving back to my city after spending 4 years focusing fairly inward was really appealing. I contacted the RTS Executive Director, Margie, the next day!

2. Why do you like working at Rebuilding Together Seattle?

I love working at RTS! How many people can say that every day at work they laugh with their coworkers, watch two crazy dogs play with each other, and have their job choice reaffirmed by the tangible positive changes they witness in the lives of those they work to help?

3. Why do you believe in the mission of RTS?

I believe in the mission of RTS because you quickly learn that the transformation occurring during a Rebuilding Day is about so much more than the before and after of the home itself. It’s about the transformation of the lives of the homeowners. A safe and warm home brings them security, hope, and relief. I also believe in our mission because it’s about bringing the community together. It’s very easy in Seattle, and in any city, to get caught up in your own life and overlook the needs of people living across the city from you or even your neighbors down the street. During one of my first weeks at RTS, I previewed a home with our Director of Programs, Sarah, that was located just a few blocks away from where I grew up. I must have driven by that house a hundred times but I never really saw it. Here they were, a family so deserving o f help and practically my neighbors, and yet without RTS I’m not sure I would have ever connected with them.

4. What has been your favorite memory so far with RTS?

One of my favorite memories was presenting with former RTS board member, Mary Herche, at the Port of Seattle’s Veterans Day Celebration. The event was held to honor veterans who have served in the military, to introduce the new class of the Veterans Fellowship Program at the Port, and to showcase other organizations that support veterans and veteran causes. We were invited to talk about the RTS Veterans Program which was created in 2009 to help veteran homeowners and their families with vital home improvements. It was a great event and I was so happy that RTS was included. We hope that the event will lead to more connections in the veteran community and that we will ultimately be able to serve more homeowners who have served our country.

5. Tell us more about yourself – what do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I like to spend time with my housemates, my boyfriend, and my family! My older brother just moved back to Seattle this November after living in China for the past 8 years with his girlfriend (well, I should say wife—they got married on December 18th!). My parents are pretty excited to have us both back in Seattle!

6. What are your hopes for RTS in years to come?

My biggest hope is that RTS will gain more and more exposure in the community so that soon Rebuilding Together Seattle will be a household name. The more well-know we are, the more likely homeowners who need our help will know where to seek it.


Thank you, Claire, for everything you do for our organization!

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