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HSD Employee Spotlight—Eldad Mekuria

Eldad Mekuria is Human Services Coordinator in the Seattle Human Services Department’s Aging and Disability Services (ADS) division. She has worked on the Age Friendly Seattle Team since July 2022.

What is your role at Seattle Human Services?

I am currently the Human Services Coordinator for Seattle Human Services (HSD), Aging and Disabilities division. I am part of the Age Friendly Seattle team. Age Friendly is a citywide initiative launched in 2016 to operationalize the City of Seattle’s commitment to making our community a great place to grow up and grow old.

I am responsible for developing and managing all aspects of age-friendly events. The main event I plan is our monthly Civic Coffees, informal forums for older adults and their families to meet government decision-makers and community organizations, to learn how decisions are made and learn how to take advantage of programs and services in their communities.

What made you want to work in human services?

Prior to joining HSD, I worked at the Seattle Public Library (SPL), which really fostered my desire to support and empower communities of color and low-income communities. My role with SPL was very people facing. I joined HSD to gain understanding of the amazing back-end work and investments that support community organizations doing the work on the ground.

Eldad Mekuria at Yesler Terrace's YES Fest 2023.

At Yesler Terrace’s YES Fest last summer

How has your job changed in recent years?

Since joining Age Friendly Seattle in 2022, I have revamped our Civic Coffee program. Prior to the pandemic, these events were held at the Central Building and the Central Seattle Public Library. In the past year, I brought the event to the community by collaborating with senior/community centers instead of asking older adults to come to us. I have been very intentional with our partnerships to engage BIPOC/immigrant communities and ensure that guest speaker reflect the community. Also, I have collaborated with the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods to provide translation and live interpretation support through their Community Liaison program, ensuring that language is not a barrier to participation at our events.

What do you love about your job?

I love many things about my job, starting with our small but mighty Age Friendly team of three and our two student interns! And most importantly I love how my job allows me to be in the community, building meaningful connections, and serving as a resource!

How do you contribute to HSD’s overarching goals related to racial equity?

My personal experience as a Black first-generation immigrant really plays a big part on how I approach my work at HSD. I have always strived to be part of a community and organization that creates an equitable and sustainable environment, where racial equity is woven into every facet of its program, and that is exactly what HSD is trying to accomplish.

Eldad Mekuria at graduation, kissed by two young children

Eldad at graduation

What motivates you or keeps you going?

In addition to the inspiration that the work itself provides, my family and community are what continue to motivate me and keep me going.

What’s one piece of advice for HSD newcomers or recent graduates in your field?

Tap into your network! I still feel new to HSD and need to put in more effort to get to know my colleagues and the amazing work they are doing. I would encourage you to make connections with your peers across the department.