Ferndale High School’s Kelsey Ottum Recognized as 2019 Ken Gass Community Builders Award Recipient

Photo of Kelsey Ottum with Ken Gass Community Builders Award and Whatcom Family & Community Network Graphic

Ferndale High School Prevention and Intervention Specialist Kelsey Ottum has been chosen as a 2019 Ken Gass Community Builders Award recipient by the Whatcom Family & Community Network. She was recently recognized for her work at an awards ceremony held December 12 at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal.

Ken Gass Community Builders Awards are given to youth, adults, businesses and organizations in recognition of their outstanding contributions to increasing community caring, empowerment and connections that improve the lives of children, youth and families. Visit the Whatcom Family & Community Network website for a full list of 2019 honorees as well as past honorees.

Individuals and groups honored show evidence of skills, talents, interests and passions that result in leveraged resources to increase community planning, increase access to service for children and families, increase connection among community members and bring together residents to collectively improve their local communities. 

As a prevention and intervention specialist at Ferndale High School, Kelsey works with students impacted by drugs, alcohol, and addiction. She collaborates with school counselors to plan Parent Night and other events. She works with students in one-on-one and group settings, writes curriculum and brings in community resources to address needs of the high school population.

Kelsey’s work extends beyond Ferndale High School to partnerships with organizations such as the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS), M.A.D. H.O.P.E, Compass Health, Catholic Community Services and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Kelsey is also an active member of the Ferndale Community Coalition, which brings together local youth-serving groups to work on removing barriers and improving the quality of life for young people in the Ferndale community.

“I am so grateful to be honored and to have an opportunity to work at FHS,” Ottum said. “I am so lucky to have such an amazing staff that supports me and makes my work possible, really this honor is thanks to them. I love my job and the amazing students that I have the pleasure to work with.”

Congratulations, Kelsey, and thank you for the many positive ways you serve Ferndale High School and the community! 

Quotes about Kelsey from the FHS Community:

“Kelsey plays a pivotal role in supporting our students who struggle with the effects of substance use and mental health. I can’t imagine what we would do without having Kelsey at our schools. She works tirelessly all day, every day. Kelsey has a tremendous heart and we are so lucky to have her making such an impact at our school.”
-    Shannon Iwasaki, Director of Golden Eagle Academy and Ferndale Virtual Academy

“Kelsey is an amazing person. She’s so nice, doesn’t pick sides, and is there for you whenever you need her. I couldn’t think of anyone who wants to help students through their problems or difficulties better than her. Thank you so much for everything, Kelsey!”
-    FHS Student Kristen Daniels

“For many of our students who don’t have adults they can trust in their home lives, Kelsey is their person. For the systems of support and the adults in the building, she is a keystone member.”
-    FHS Counselor North Moench 

“Kelsey was presented the award for making a difference for students who are impacted by substance abuse. She was recognized for creating focus groups and going above and beyond her role in our building – congratulations, Kelsey.”
-    FHS Co-Principal David Rodriguez  

“We are grateful for the many ways Kelsey’s work supports our students and the community. I am thrilled that Kelsey has been recognized with such a well-deserved honor. She is a treasure to our school district.”
-    Ferndale School District Superintendent Dr. Linda Quinn