Northwest Teacher Invited to White House

June 12, 2014 | Craig Mattson

Julie Kaas needed a restart in life after a divorce and facing life as a single mother. She signed up for the Washington Women’s Educational Employment Services (WWEE) program to develop leadership training, learn technology skills and receive workplace training to prepare for her new role as the sole breadwinner.

The program took Kaas, a member of Graham Church, on a journey of discovery with questions like, “What are your dreams?” and “What are your passions?”

“It had been years since I thought about any of these questions, and it was amazing to begin finding the answers,” Kaas says.

While in the program, Barb Kenney, Clinton-era White House photographer, showed up to photograph the WWEE program. Kenney asked to photograph Kaas in her home and daily life. These photos and an accompanying profile appeared in the Shriver Report by Maria Shriver.

Then the Tacoma News Tribune picked up Kaas’ story. Kaas received a phone call in February inviting her to join a special group to witness the signing of an executive order, participate in an insider’s tour of the White House and meet the president of the United States of America.

Kaas is currently serving as an early childhood teacher at Northwest Christian School in Puyallup. She is pursuing higher education, hopes to become a children’s occupational therapist and frequently gives public addresses around the Seattle-Tacoma area.

“The program and this experience changed who I am and my life forever,” Kaas says. “For the first time, I feel free to live life.”