Throughout her education at Rogers High School, Rachel Askew was as successful on the basketball court as she was off it. She was a RAM Ambassador, a member of the Honor Society and Key Club and a candidate for the Daffodil Court.
Now the 19-year-old sophomore at University of Puget Sound is making strides as the newly elected Grand Worthy Adviser of the Washington-Idaho jurisdiction for the International Order of Rainbow for Girls.
Since 2005, Askew has been a member of the Puyallup Rainbow Assembly, a chapter of the International Order of Rainbow for Girls. The nonprofit service organization fosters leadership and volunteerism in girls and women ages 11-20.
“What is special about Rainbow is it’s making leaders,” Askew said. “Rainbow gets girls ready for life and turns girls into young women. Girls involved in Rainbow come out better and more successful.”
At the annual jurisdiction convention on July 13, Askew said she was elected as the Grand Worthy Adviser by 98 delegates who represented chapters in Washington and Idaho.
Askew, a daughter of Michael and Teresa Askew, is a third-generation Rainbow girl. Margaret Harto, her maternal grandmother who is the mayor of Covington, was a Rainbow girl in Seaside, Ore., in the 1950s. Traci Seely, Askew’s aunt on her mother’s side, was a Rainbow girl in Kent and Queen Anne in the 1980s.
What makes Askew’s election special is that she is the first African-American to be elected to the office in the jurisdiction’s history. Askew isn’t the first to fill the seat from Puyallup. That was Cindy (Sparks) Cariveau, who was elected in 1986. Cariveau now is a volunteer at Puyallup High School.
Askew’s mother Teresa said she’s proud of her daughter.
“Rachel has always been a high-achiever, and I saw this as part of her plan,” Teresa said.
Askew said she joined the Puyallup Rainbow Assembly following a bad experience with Girl Scouts.
“I was a very ambitious 11-year-old,” she said. “I had plans to attend Gonzaga. I had my whole life planned out to age 40. I joined Rainbow because scholarships were available. I took advantage of this opportunity. My parents said that I needed to be involved in the community.”
Teresa said she and her husband Michael have always wanted to provide their children a well-balanced upbringing.
“We wanted them to learn values of community service,” she said.
Askew’s brother Michael is a senior at Rogers High, and he plays for the varsity basketball team.
Rachel has taken on leadership roles before. In 2010, she was the Puyallup Rainbow Assembly’s local chapter president, and she helped the chapter gain 30 percent in membership. Askew also has been part of the chapter’s effort to raise $27,000 for Northwest Harvest in Washington state and donating 1,000 pounds of food to the Puyallup Food Bank.
In 2010, Askew received the Grand Cross of Color, an appointed award from the International Order of Rainbow for Girls based on Askew’s exceptional service in the community and her continued investment in service.
From now through November, Askew and her mother will tour Washington and Idaho and visit all 31 chapters in the jurisdiction.
“I will assess each chapter,” Askew said. “My goal this year is to have each assembly increase membership by 50 percent and have 365 hours of service completed from each assembly by the start of the jurisdiction convention next July.”
Askew will serve through July 13, 2014, before she graduates from the organization.
“I want to see Rainbow grow because I want it to be here for my daughter and my daughter’s daughter,” she said.