Sara Solum Hayashi to receive award for Kenmore community service

Sara Solum Hayashi, a long-time volunteer and advocate of a wide range of arts programs, has been named winner of the Kenmore Heritage Society’s annual McMaster Heritage Award, which honors an individual who has made outstanding volunteer contributions to the Kenmore community.

“Over the past 17 years, Sara has demonstrated an energetic and sustained commitment to her community, especially its youth,” Annette Eaton, president of the society, said in a press release. “When a worthwhile project is in need of support and help, Sara is often one of the first to volunteer.”

According to the release, Hayashi has volunteered several thousand hours on behalf of the Northshore Schools Foundation (assisting with fundraising, event planning and community outreach), the Milk Money Project (an initiative she co-founded to raise funds for school supplies, school pictures and yearbooks for an estimated 200 homeless children in the district) and the Arts of Kenmore (curating the annual Kenmore Art Show).

In addition, she founded the Northshore Junior High Music Boosters Club and served on the board of the Inglewood Instrumental Music Booster Club, organizations that encourage and support music in the schools. From 1999 to 2011, Sara served as a volunteer art docent in 31 classrooms.

“It was how I was raised,” Hayashi told the Reporter of her desire to give back to her community, recounting her parents’ participation in many organizations and committees in the 1960s and ’70s in northern Minnesota. “I tend to be one of those people who leaves (a place) better than I found it.”

In 2016, Hayashi assisted with fundraising for the Kenmore Mural Project, and she serves on the steering committee for the Highway 522 Beautification Projects.

Hayashi and her husband, David, moved to Kenmore from Minnesota in 1999, after she received a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University, specializing in studio arts, art history, music and theater arts.

Now in its 16th year, the McMaster Heritage Award is named after John McMaster, the pioneer Kenmore businessman and entrepreneur who gave Kenmore its name in 1901.

“It was very humbling to get this award,” Hayashi said, giving thanks to all the people she’s volunteered alongside throughout the last 18 years.

Presentation of the award will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Kenmore Community Club, 7304 NE 175th Street. The public is invited to this special event.