Tessera to open center in Bothell for life-long learning for people with autism

  • Written by Deborah Stone

Artist’s rendering of Tessera’s new center for lifelong learning for people with autism. The center will be open in mid-January and is located on Bothell Way in the old American Legion Hall.
It’s been several years in the making, but at long last, Tessera will soon have a place it can call home.

The local nonprofit organization, which was founded in 2004 by Charles and Barbara Burnett, purchased the American Legion Hall in Bothell last year. At just under 12,000 square feet, the building, which has been going through an extensive remodel, will house the organization’s administrative offices and serve as a center for life-long learning for people with autism and their families.

“We’re very excited about it,” says Inga Paige, Tessera’s executive director. “We plan to initially use the upper floor, which is about 8,000 square feet, and eventually rent out the downstairs space to other nonprofits, behavior therapists or maybe use it for ourselves.”

Paige explains that the center, which will open in mid January, will offer a variety of programs five days a week and include such activities as arts and crafts, music therapy, exercise and team sports and classes in daily living skills.

She says, “There’s going to be a kitchen, so we can work on cooking skills, and a washer and dryer for participants to learn how to care for their clothes. And we’re also going to have a designated sensory room, where there will be all sorts of tactile objects, a swing, weighted blankets, special lights and mats.”

Paige adds, “The sensory room is being created to help enhance the participants’ senses and provide a way for them to relate to their environment. For some, it will serve as stimulation. For others, the experience will help to calm them down.”

Additionally, the center will be a place where parents, caregivers and families can have access to information and the resources they need to live with autism at home and in various independent-living settings. Since 2008, Tessera has served more than 300 people annually through a variety of recreational, social, educational and family-friendly activities. Previously, the organization had utilized various facilities in the community, but now with the new center, all programming will occur at the Bothell site.

“We hope to serve upwards of fifty clients a day at the center,” says Paige. “Autism is our focus and most of our clients are above 21, which is the time when they age out of the public school system. There’s just not much for them after this point. High-quality programs and resources seem to disappear and these individuals often become socially isolated as a result. They either live at home or in group or other supported living homes and they basically become homebound and inactive, cut off from their communities.”

Paige explains that although the organization seeks to reach out to autistic adults, it doesn’t turn anyone away and nor does it set any age limits for participation. “We have adults with a variety of developmental disabilities attend our programs,” she says. “And if teens want to join in, that’s fine, too.”

In addition to the center, Tessera also purchased a rental home in Woodinville to provide residential living for those individuals who are ready to be more independent. The house was remodeled for accessibility and is close to community transit, the library, shopping and a park.

It is currently rented to four young adults, 18 and older, who seek a more independent living environment, and it is staffed around the clock by Special Care Agency Supported Living Services.

“We’ve had the house since 2006,” notes Paige. “It’s really working well and we’d like to purchase several more homes in the future so that more young adults can benefit from this type of living situation.”

Paige adds that down the road Tessera wants to create another center.

“One in a hundred kids is born with autism, so the need is definitely there,” she says. “We want to reach as many as possible with the goal of improving quality of life through enriching opportunities and experiences.”

For more information about Tessera: (425) 301-5048 or

Helping horses in a ‘bazaar way’

  • Written by Jennifer Warmke
Just north of Monroe, safely tucked away from the road, is a horse haven with rolling pastures, trees, green grass, fresh water, shelter and a unique set of volunteers dedicated to helping horses.  This is where Northwest Equine Stewardship Center (NWESC) is located.

Founded in 2008, Northwest Equine Stewardship Center works together with local equine rescue organizations to help neglected and abused horses get the care they need and find forever homes.

Their focus is on the professional level rehabilitation (veterinary, farrier, training, etc.) of rescue horses and they rely on the dedicated work of local horse rescue organizations to take on the long term responsibility of horses in need and to find forever homes once they have been rehabilitated.

Since it was founded, NWESC had helped hundreds of horses, in conjunction with local rescue agencies, to recover from neglect and abuse. However, their efforts with this specialized rehabilitation come at a price.  On average, it costs NWESC approximately $20-$35 per day to care for one horse’s most basic needs.  Add a severely neglected or abused horse and that cost only covers a portion of the equation.

“Once a horse is rehabilitated, the work begins with local rescue organizations to continue the care and training of the horse while providing it a safe haven until it can find a forever home,” stated Dr. Hannah Evergreen, a board director for NWESC.  “It can take several months to years to find the appropriate home for some of these horses, and that monetary cost adds up.”

At an average monthly cost of $400-$700 which does NOT include feed or training, the costs do indeed add up in a hurry.  While a portion of the yearly costs are funded through adoption fees, mini-fundraisers, grants and horse sponsorships, most of the expenses are left unaccounted for.  It is for those unfunded expenses that NWESC, Save a Forgotten Horse (S.A.F.E.) and Equine Aid are combining their efforts for their first annual holiday bazaar.

The event, to be held on December 4th, 2011 will include light refreshments, shopping, raffles, photos with Santa (the horse) and lots of fun!  The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be held at NWESC (9812 215th Ave SE, Snohomish).  All proceeds will benefit the three 501(c)(3) organizations.

In addition to shopping, you can help sponsor a rescue horse’s “Dear Santa” wish.  Letters will be posted on the NWESC website each day in November. Tax deductible monetary donations are also welcome.

“These donations, in whatever form, will make it possible for us (NWESC, S.A.F.E. and Equine Aid) to continue our mission in helping horses in need,” said Dr. Evergreen.

If you’d like to be a vendor for this event, make a donation or sponsor a horse, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or visit NWESC’s website

To learn more about the a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations mentioned in this article, visit , , or .

Students at Lake Forest Park Montessori to assemble care packs for ‘Survive the Night’

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Students from Seattle’s Lake Forest Park Montessori will assemble care packs on Tuesday, Nov. 29 for Survive the Night, a local non-profit organization that provides overnight bags to children who have been taken into emergency care following a family crisis.

Students have collected items throughout November for the Seattle-based non-profit, founded by teacher Lori Johnson.

Students, teachers and community members have brought donations to the school including new pajamas, toothbrushes, toothpaste, underwear and soft toys.

As a culmination to their collection efforts, students will sort and assemble care packs and learn about Survive the Night from teacher Lori Johnson, creator and founder of the organization.

Survive the Night is a newly formed non-profit group. The organization’s focus is on providing essential items for a one night stay in emergency care following a family crisis.

The organization has been created to help children in most likely one of the scariest, unsettling events of their lives.

For more information, visit Forest Park Montessori, 19935 19th Ave NE, Seattle.

About Lake Forest Park Montessori

Lake Forest Park Montessori in Seattle expertly combines academic learning experiences and structured play in a fun, safe and nurturing environment. Staff engages children in a variety of ways that help them discover, explore and learn to their fullest potential.

Children are given plenty of room for their bodies and minds to grow.

Lake Forest Park Montessori is part of Nobel Learning Communities, Inc., a national network of more than 180 nonsectarian private schools, including preschools, elementary schools, and middle schools in fifteen states across the nation.

For more information on Lake Forest Park Montessori, please log onto

Take a closer look at gifts to a child’s college fund

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

OLYMPIA–Thinking about holiday gifts? This year you may want to take a closer look at the gift of education, and contribute to a child’s GET account.

GET is Washington’s 529 prepaid tuition plan, where your college savings account is guaranteed by state law to keep pace with rising tuition, even if tuition doubles or triples in the future. GET offers flexible savings options, plus tax-free growth and withdrawals. Kids can use their GET account to attend colleges, universities and technical schools anywhere in the country. And, if they decide not to attend college or receive a scholarship, parents can hold onto the account for up to ten years, transfer the account to another child, or request a refund.

The rising cost of college is in the news almost daily, but grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends can provide support along the way. Saving for a child’s college can seem daunting to parents, yet even small contributions add up over time. Unlike regular 529 savings plans, GET accounts are not affected by the ups and downs of the stock market. Those who fund a GET account when their children are young can save substantially on future tuition.

Whether it’s for a baby, or for a young child who’d feel inspired knowing that college is in his or her future, the gift of college savings is very special indeed. Research shows that teens who have a college savings account in their name are six times more likely to attend.

If a child already has a GET account, gifting is as easy as mailing a check. You can download a gift announcement directly from the GET Web site. If you want to open a new account for a child, you can enroll online, or mail in an enrollment form. More information is available at or by calling (800) 955-2318.

King County Sheriff’s Office to close Maple Valley and Kenmore precincts December 5th

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

The King County Sheriff’s Precincts located in Maple Valley and Kenmore will be closing their doors to the public starting Monday, December 5th. These precincts will be combined with other facilities in the next few weeks.

The closure is part of an effort by the Sheriff’s Office to save money and move deputies closer to the citizens and communities they serve.  The Sheriff estimates that the moves will save King County taxpayers more than $8 million over the next 20 years by closing these facilities.

“We are saving money, strengthening our relationships with our contract city partners, and improving our access and visibility for the benefit of the citizens of King County,” noted Sheriff Rahr.

The Maple Valley Precinct will be combined with the City of Covington and is expected to be open by January 1. The Kenmore Precinct will move to Sammamish City Hall and will be open by February 1.

Services that have traditionally been provided to the public at the precincts such as concealed pistol licenses (CPL) and fingerprinting will be temporarily available at other locations until the moves are complete. The Sheriff’s Office wants to let the public know which facilities will provide these services in the interim.

Members of the public should call and make an appointment first.  Anyone who uses the Kenmore Precinct may go to the Shoreline Precinct for fingerprinting and concealed pistol licenses. Shoreline provides these services on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays by appointment only.  The Shoreline Station is located at 1206 N. 185 St. Appointments may made by calling (206) 801-2710.

The downtown Sheriff’s Office located at the King County Courthouse also provides fingerprinting and concealed pistol licenses on a walk-in basis.  The address is 516 3rd Ave. Suite 150 located on the first floor of the courthouse.

For more help or information, call (206) 296-4155 or visit the Sheriff’s Office website at: