2022 WRPA SEEK Fund Advisory Committee

Meet the Committee Members

The WRPA SEEK Fund Program is designed to enable local parks and recreation agencies throughout our state to expand summer outdoor education programs offered to school-aged kids! This page explains the process for applying for the SEEK Fund. If you want to read more about the fund, its terms, applicant eligibility, and more visit the WRPA SEEK Fund page.

Learn More About the SEEK Fund

Below is a list of the 2021 SEEK Fund Advisory Committee Members:

Dr. Barb Brock

Dr. Brock is a retired emeritus faculty from Eastern Washington University where she taught recreation management for nearly 30 years. She is currently a board member of Giving BackPacks, a Spokane non-profit that promotes wellbeing among underserved and vulnerable populations, and is also an advisor for Jewels Helping Hands, an organization that provides services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

She also spent 18 months presenting "Putting a Face on Homelessness" at Neighborhood Council gatherings in Spokane with several homeless individuals accompanying her who told their stories. For the past 7 years, she has been a nanny in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and plays piano in the lobby of Sacred Heart Hospital for kicks.

“I look forward to being a voice for the underserved children and families in Eastern Washington and working with an awesome bunch of professionals.”

Al Frank

Al recently retired from the City of Maple Valley as the Parks Operation Manager and has more than 40 years in the parks and recreation field. Al has held numerous positions and has a broad range of experience throughout the western United States, including the cities of Sparks,  NV; Vernal, UT; Seattle, WA; Tukwila, WA; Cheney, WA; Snoqualmie, WA; and Maple Valley, WA.

While at Seattle, Al served underprivileged youth at the Yesler Housing Projects in partnership with the YWCA. He also served as a youth counselor with his church and provided many programs and activities to those in need.

“I look forward to helping the different organizations to provide the needed program funds for their community. With the COVID pandemic everyone is in need of more activities. This is a great opportunity for to help others within our state.”

Dennis Higashiyama

Dennis’ (left in photo) career in recreation started long before he ever got a job in the profession while playing tournament tennis as a teen and then moving over to teaching skiing for over ten years once he could afford the sport. “These two sports created connections and opportunities rarely seen for someone growing up in southeast Seattle.”

Professionally, Dennis worked for Seattle Parks and the cities of Kent and Lakewood. Each city provided the chance to work with late-night programs in some of the lowest income areas which utilized either community centers or partnerships with school districts as the host sites.

Dennis’ work in Lakewood included creating low-cost ($5/day) summer day camp programs in elementary schools that were 90-96% free or reduced lunch to keep youth engaged, learning, and safe during their out-of-school time. In Kent, he transitioned an existing nonprofit organization to a new model and became the founding President of Communities in Schools of Kent. Dennis stayed involved in this organization as a board member of Communities in Schools of Lakewood, served with the Lakewood First Lions Club, and was a recipient of the Melvin Jones Award.

“Recreation has personally given me opportunities that have changed my life and I am honored that I can serve in this process to help others experience new opportunities as well.”

Terry Higashiyama

Terry (right in photo) retired after spending over 36 years in the park and recreation profession, where she worked ten years in the private sector, five years with King County, five with the City of Bellevue, and the remaining years with the City of Renton. Her career covered all aspects of the parks and recreation field including, human services, recreation, senior and person with disabilities programs, facilities management, aquatics, libraries, athletics, design, and development of community centers, playgrounds, trails, and also environmental centers and nature programs to name a few.

Terry has served as President of Washington Parks and Recreation, President of the Renton Technical College FoundationWashington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition Board member, Communities and Schools Board of Directors for Renton, Renton Rotary President, Lieutenant Governor for Rotary, numerous boards for National Recreation and Parks Association and is currently a trustee for First Financial Northwest Foundation.

“This opportunity to support cities and organizations to better serve our youth in finding all of the opportunities in outdoor recreation is very exciting and especially needed after the long recovery from the COVID.”

Larry M. Otos

Larry has over 35 years in the parks and recreation profession and is currently the Principal Owner of The Otos Group, LLC which specializes in government relations, grant writing, organizational structure, team building, and comprehensive park planning.

As the director of the Mount Vernon Parks and Recreation Department, Otos developed a comprehensive parks and recreation system delivering services to the community and surrounding areas focusing on underserved populations, created the first “Mobile Playground” to travel in the most densely and lower/socio-economic neighborhoods in Mount Vernon to provide recreation services, and wrote numerous grants for acquisition and development of the parks and recreation system.

Larry has held many leadership positions in the Washington Recreation and Parks Association and local organizations such as Mount Vernon Public Schools Foundation and the Skagit Valley Hospital Foundation, of which he has been president. He is also a past president of the Western Washington University (WWU) Alumni Association.

Larry is currently the president of the Mount Vernon School District Board of Directors as an elected official and is chair of the Career and Technical Education for the district. As a school board director, Larry has been involved in developing the District's “Equity Policy” focused on underserved populations. Every proposal/policy in the district is reviewed through the “Equity Lens" to help drive decisions within the district to focus on Equity for all of our students. Larry has been recognized for his work by receiving the Leadership Award from the Washington State School Directors Association.

“These are exciting times coming out and recovering from the pandemic. The time we spent quarantined made us and the US Government realize how important recreation is to this county. We have an opportunity to provided programming and funding for ALL of our children. I am fortunate to be a part of this important fund process.”