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Busy Kirkland Kids

These local kids are entrepreneurs, dancers, community helpers, and creators.

Article by Bree O'Brien

Photography by Several - noted w/each photo

Originally published in Kirkland Lifestyle

Dancing her way through life

Eight-year-old Alexander Graham Bell Elementary student Blair Gray shares her love of dance.

How long have you been dancing?

For six years, since I was only two years old!

What types of dance do you do, and which is your favorite? 

I do ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop. Jazz is my favorite!

What do you enjoy about performing?

I love the fun costumes.

What is challenging about dancing? 

Learning tap combinations.

What would you say to another kid who wants to start learning to dance? 

Just go for it. You’ll be great and have fun! 

What do you do for fun besides dancing?

I enjoy all kinds of art! Painting, drawing, collage, everything!

Do you have any pets?

Yes, two dogs! We have Bentley who is a 16-year-old blind and deaf chihuahua. He used to love to play fetch but now he loves treats. And we have Buffy who is a rescue miniature Australian Shepard. We think she’s 8. She is very fast, loves toys, and protects our family. I love to eat, nap, and play outside with my pets!

Helping is just what we do

Bini Kalning, a rising 8th grader at Kirkland Middle School, talks about serving the community.      

What inspires you to help your community? 

Honestly, it’s just what we do in our family. It’s not always something organized. If my mom hears that they need meals at the women’s shelter, we make a meal and deliver it. When we heard that the tent city by City Hall needed supplies, we walked down and delivered them. When COVID happened, we were gathering up all kinds of supplies for people who needed help, and I helped with that. 


What type of community service have you done recently and what do you like about it?

My mom and I delivered food boxes to people through Sound Generations. It felt good to be helpful. Sound Generations helps support senior citizens in different ways.

What other types of service would you like to do in the future? 

I would like to work with animals. We have three pets and I really love animals. I had a pet sitting and dog walking service the summer before the pandemic happened and that was fun. 


What do you do for fun? 

I like to play basketball and hang out with friends. I also like to listen to music and draw.

Inspiring hope in Kirkland

Alysse Quin, the creator of The Living Hope Project, is a Kirkland resident and recent graduate of The Bear Creek School.

What inspired you to create this project? 

The living wall (outside of Cactus Restaurant) is a gift to Kirkland and its residents, created for my senior project. I designed The Living Hope Project to encourage people to think about what gives them hope.

What materials did you use? 

I created the plant wall with a wire grid, and two reinforced wood frames with spacers between them. The 270 plants are wrapped in hand-woven pockets of FloraFelt which is made from recycled materials and distributes water and nutrients to the plants, and soil.

Did you face any challenges? 

I didn’t know much about construction before going into this project, so I had to quickly learn how to use a lot of different tools such as a drill press and a chop saw.

As a recent graduate, what are your plans for the future? 

I am attending Pepperdine University this fall with the goal of pursuing Business Administration and possibly theatre as well.

What’s your favorite part about living in Kirkland? 

My favorite memories are of the time I have spent in downtown Kirkland with my family. I’ve loved living here, I haven’t even left for college and I already can’t wait to come back.

Entrepreneurial siblings

Kirkland residents Tyler (9) and Julia Alston (11) share their experiences running their own businesses

Tell me about your companies.

T: Sign Me Up is a yard sign business for birthdays, graduations, or any celebration. I started it in January 2021.

J: I have a dog-walking business called Happy Leash. I love dogs and have been walking them since I was seven.

What inspired you to start your own business?

T: Someone on my soccer team had gotten yard signs and I liked that idea. Other companies charge a lot and I felt I could do a great job for less. Yard signs are a fun way to celebrate in the pandemic.

J: My mom and dad are very entrepreneurial, and they’ve always supported and inspired me.

What challenges have you faced?

J: Getting used to picking up dog poop!

T: Balancing soccer, school, and family with my business.

What’s a highlight of your experience?

J: I love that I’m able to learn about being an entrepreneur. In addition to dog-walking, now I babysit and do other odd jobs.

T: I get to bring happiness to people when they see my signs.

What have you learned?

J: Organization and good communication are important. I enjoy helping others and being of service.

T: The key to success is failure!

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