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Photo courtesy Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families

This dad is all about inclusivity | Unsung Hero

David James III is tribal sports and community champion

Seattle’s Child is proud to partner with the state Department of Children, Youth and Families Strengthening Families Washington to honor outstanding caregivers doing important work on behalf of children. Throughout February, we’ll introduce you to Unsung Heroes from around the state: biological parents, grandparents, foster and adoptive parents. Some volunteer at local schools; some have started nonprofits; some mentor others in their communities. Enjoy the stories of 2024’s unsung heroes. 

NOTE: Seattle’s Child is running these stories unedited, as written by the people who nominated them, in keeping with the DCYF Unsung Hero process.


David James III, Bellingham

David James III is a father of five children. He is highly inclusive of the people in his community when it comes to American and tribal sports. He encourages his children, the children in the community, and even the adults to practice healthy lifestyles.

Throughout the entire year, David stays busy participating or coaching. He coaches basketball for the Boys and Girls Club and Lummi Nations School. He even volunteered to coach baseball for Lummi Nation School when the coach’s position could not be filled, just so the students had an opportunity at a season. 

On weekends when there are no seasonal sports, David’s family travels to tribal basketball tournaments and plays as a family team. Also in tribal sports, David’s family is involved in the traditional Coast Salish sport of war canoe racing.

Paddling war canoes has led David’s family to several trophies throughout Washington and British Colombia. Expanding their paddling traditions into other forms of racing, the family began racing outriggers. In 2023, His family traveled to Hawaii for the “Queen Lili’oukalani” canoe races.

While neither David’s men’s team nor his sons’ teams placed, his wife and daughter’s team placed second in this global canoe racing event. 

He cheered hard and made sure his family and community had everything they needed to do their best. David works for the children at Lummi Early Learning Programs providing our community’s greatest assets with a safe and sanitary environment to develop and learn.

— Waylon Ballew

More Unsung Heroes:

New foster parents navigating with love

Walking the talk of inclusivity

A tireless advocate for special kids

An open home and heart

A tireless champion for kids

About the Author

Seattle Child Staff