Community spotlight: Garrett makes a difference for others

Zhakaysha Garrett vows to shape her community. Her vision is for Kent to one day support and open a multipurpose youth center, something that is important in building a strong bond between active kids and helpful adults.

Zhakaysha Garrett

Zhakaysha Garrett

Zhakaysha Garrett vows to shape her community.

Her vision is for Kent to one day support and open a multipurpose youth center, something that is important in building a strong bond between active kids and helpful adults.

“I really want to work toward getting a youth center in Kent,” said Garrett, 18, a recent Kent-Meridian High School graduate who recently began classes at Pacific Lutheran University. “I really believe they need a center where teens can go to get whatever resources they need regardless of any diversity issues. I would have liked to have had a teen center when I was in Kent … teens need it.”

Garrett plans to stay involved with her hometown while at college. Her work in the community, especially through Project U(th), the Kent East Hill Revitalization Committee and the Kent Black Action Commission (KBAC), remains unfinished.

Project U(th), for instance, is a nonprofit organization that helps teens obtain opportunities through internships, community service and other efforts.

“Definitely. I will keep myself updated when I can with Project U(th) and KBAC,” Garrett said. “Whenever I get a chance to, I want to reconnect with them.”

Garrett left her mark in Kent, where her family lives.

At K-M, she was National Honor Society president, Key Club executive assistant of the Pacific Northwest District, Black Student Union (BSU) supporter and senior class vice president. She graduated with honors, earning several awards and scholarships that paved her way to PLU, where she plans to major in business administration and minor in communications.

“She is a very caring, young lady who wants others to benefit from serving the community and helping others,” said Gwen Allen-Carston, KBAC executive director. “She has a concern for the sustainability of the BSU program at Kent-Meridian. She knows how important it is for young people to know and respect their culture and reach out to others.

“She is headed off to college to further herself and her ambitions,” Allen-Carston said. “But I know somewhere, somehow she will find time to share and serve.”

At PLU, Garrett plans to work with Circle K International, a Kiwanis-affiliated organization of college and university students that promotes community service, leadership development and fellowship.

Garrett has many community service goals in mind.

A Kent teen center is one of them.

“I have a little brother and a little sister. I would like for them to have a place to go after school where they can do their homework, hang out with friends and not have to worry about things,” Garrett said. “They don’t have the resources. It’s real frustrating because there are many teens out there who need (a center).

“It’s like what is Kent doing? What are you doing to help your teen out? I’m really passionate about that idea.”



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