Even before Ericka Katz Consilio's youngest child, Will Katz, began attending Boones Ferry Primary School, he offered new students and their parents a tour of the campus during orientation.
He knew the school so well for one reason: Katz Consilio volunteered there often and brought him along when she did.
And because of her many efforts to improve Boones Ferry, Inza R. Wood Middle School and Wilsonville High School and youth sports programs in town Katz Consilio was named a finalist for the Rotary Club of Wilsonville's First Citizen award, given annually to an impactful member of the Wilsonville community.
"We only have this one life to live and I've always maintained that I want to do everything I can every day to live my best life, and that means supporting organizations I'm involved with, supporting the things my kids do," Katz Consilio said.
The Rotary will announce the winner of this year's First Citizen award at the 2020 Vision for Service: Heart of Gold Dinner and Auction at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Wilsonville Holiday Inn. Along with Katz Consilio, fellow volunteers Kyle Bunch, Katie Green and Jake and Dianne McMichael also were named finalists for the award.
Growing up in the small town of Loyalton, California, Katz Consilio adopted the mantra that if anything was going to get done, she was going to have to chip in.
There, she was head of the school newspaper and yearbook committee and performed other extracurricular activities. Now as a parent, she's just as involved in local schools as she ever was as a kid.
Katz Consilio began her extensive work when her eldest son, Jeremy Katz, was a kindergartener at Boones Ferry. There, she helped start the school's auction and says she helped generate approximately $300,000 for the school over the years. That money went toward technology, starting an artist in residence program, funding playground upgrades and other improvements.
"I'm under the belief system that our kids have to have lots of different aspects they're learning, not just curriculum based," she said. "When you are learning science and engineering and mathematics, there's a lot of studies around the benefits of also having music
and art. That was a lot of my focus."
Katz Consilio is an event planner in her day job and Angee Glastra van Loon, who nominated her for the award and has volunteered with her at Boones Ferry and other places, said Katz Consilio possesses a unique ability to plan auctions and conjure creative ideas for fundraising initiatives.
"She's given so much to the community in so many different ways throughout the years," Glastra van Loon said. "She has an unbelievable amount of energy to do what she does. I don't know how she does it all."
Katz Consilio also has led staff appreciation efforts at local schools and was a den leader for Boy Scout Troop 194.
As one might expect, her involvement depended on what school her children were attending at the time and what activities they were involved with.
This year, Jeremy participated on the Wilsonville High football and lacrosse teams as well as with the drama department and her youngest son, who is an eighth grader, plays football and baseball.
Katz Consilio has helped raise funds for the Wilsonville High Touchdown Club, which generates money for the high school football program. She also has been a lead fundraiser for Wilsonville Youth Football and is on the Wilsonville Little League Board of Directors.
The volunteer said part of the reason she invests so much of her time to benefit Wilsonville schools and programs is that the community supported her when her husband died about 10 years ago.
"We had close friends here in the community who supported us, but the outpouring of love and support from people we didn't even know was an amazing look into humanity for me," she said.
Glastra van Loon noted that Katz Consilio continued organizing a Boones Ferry auction even after her husband died.
"We all wanted her to step back and feel herself, but she doesn't give up on projects. She just keeps going forward," she said.
When she found out she had been named a finalist for the First Citizen award, Katz Consilio was touched.
"It was completely surprising. I think there's so many people in our community who serve and give back," she said. "Especially when I found out who the other volunteers are. ... I'm just humbled."
For people who want to become community volunteers, Katz Consilio advises them simply to do rather than talk.
"It doesn't help to just make recommendations and make opinions — you have to get in there and do the dirty work yourself," she said.
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