“You can have a dream and you can make it work,” affirms Janet L. Trinkaus, “but you’d better roll up your sleeves.” No stranger to hard work, Trinkaus left the business arena in 1987 to “make a shift” in her life. That January, she retreated to a friend’s cabin in the North Cascades. “The purpose was to stop – literally stop – and be quiet,” explains Trinkaus. She emerged from the snowy stillness with a girlhood memory of wanting to work with children. The following year, Trinkaus established Rise n’ Shine, a nonprofit agency serving children affected by AIDS. Operating from her Snohomish County farm, which she later sold to raise money for Rise n’ Shine, Trinkaus began with five children.
At that time HIV/AIDS was primarily an adult male issue. Occasionally, the paper reported the plight of border babies – infants abandoned at hospitals by their infected parents. Janet was concerned that women, would eventually become infected at rates equal to males, and that hundreds of children would therefore be swept up into this disease. Her pleas for action fell on deaf ears as AIDS agencies were challenged to keep up with the increasing number of infections and deaths in the adult population.
But, she would not be deterred from creating a support system for the children. Her passion remained strong and against many odds and personal and financial sacrifice, and with the help of family, friends and a handful of volunteers, she continued to bring her vision into reality. Today, the Seattle-based agency serves more than 150 children and teens in western Washington. The woman who, literally, bet her farm to make a difference in these children’s lives has no regrets. “You just set your heart to it,” declares Trinkaus, “and go for it!”
Most recently Janet received the 2010 AIDS Service Award at the Seattle World AIDS Day Luncheon. She has been honored with a number of other awards and recognitions for her work with children including Safeco’s Rudy Award recognizing her as a “Beacon of Light in our Community”; representing Washington state in Washington D.C. as winner of The Jefferson Award, founded by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Senator Robert Taft, Jr.; The Children’s Alliance of Washington State as an Outstanding Advocate for Children; The international Giraffe Project as a “Giraffe” for “sticking her neck out for the common good” and she was featured in Family Circle’s “Women Who Make A Difference,” and in a short documentary film, A Story of Hope.
Rise n’ Shine(www.risenshine.org)
417 23rd Avenue South
Seattle, Washington 98144
Phone: (206) 628-8949
FAX: (206) 628-6207