I am a third generation Yakima resident, with my father and his family having planted their roots right here in the heart of Yakima. While I was born in South Korea, my father, who was in the Navy at the time, moved back to this city because he knew he could raise his family here. I myself moved back to Yakima after attending Seattle Pacific University to raise my boys because, like my father, this is home and I know how supportive our community is. I know the streets of this city like the back of my own hand—every nook and cranny has been etched into my mind. I know Yakima’s ins and outs, its quirks and qualities, and I want this to be a city for so many others like me to raise their own families.
In 2001, I started my own business in Yakima called “Hair by Soneya” and started by renting out space in other salons. By 2014, I was able to lease a commercial space, rename my business to Saol Salon, and hire local hairstylists, giving them a fun, safe place to work. Just a few years ago, in 2017, I was able to expand again to provide even more space and opportunity for the business. The work I do is all about relationship-building and maintenance. In the nearly 20 years I have been a business owner, my profession has honed my ability to really listen to what another person is saying and reach out to meet them halfway. It has also taught me just how liberating and impactful it is to own your own business, and I want others to be able to experience this exact same joy.
Yakima is so much more than just a city or a place to live for me. This is the city where I can connect with people from so many walks of life, enjoy a local farm to table meal, and have a conversation. Yakima is the city where I can go out for a night and enjoy so many great things—from food and community events to live performances. Yakima is the city where I can get involved with numerous organizations and have a positive, tangible impact on my friends, family, and neighbors. Yakima is not just a place where I live, but a place where I thrive because of the community that is here and the community that continues to grow. I want to encourage more people to become a part of this vibrant community, while giving back at the same time.
I am fiercely passionate about Rod’s House and their mission to empower youth to reach their full potential. They have had such a deep, meaningful impact on my life that I have dedicated years toward furthering their mission and helping our community’s homeless and at-risk youth.
I have served on Rod’s House’s board for two terms and will assume the position of Vice President in June. During my time serving Rod’s House, I have acted as Secretary, volunteered, and helped numerous at-risk youths find stable housing, employment, or continued education.
Rod’s House holds a special place in my heart because I fostered my son’s best friend for six years and eventually became a foster and respite home for other kids in the foster care system. I have fostered about a dozen or so boys, giving them a safe place to sleep, eat, learn, and grow.
I have personally experienced the significant impact someone can have on a young person’s life by just giving them the necessities to become their best self. Rod’s House provides this same experience for our community’s at-risk youth, and I have felt so honored to be able to help them in any capacity.
Other Organizations I am Involved In
- 2019 class of Leadership Yakima
- Habitat for Humanity
- Young Adult Homeless Shelter
- Humane Society