by AMY LEHRER

Adventure Seekers

Mutual friends secretly brought Vanessa Banks and Michael Washington together at a San Diego Regional Center gathering to benefit the developmentally disabled. Only after meeting and discovering their mutual attraction did they learn how they had cleverly been paired. After developing their relationship, they selected San Marcos for their home due to the new housing and shopping developments and its proximity to work, the beach, and recreational activities like hiking and biking.

Vanessa received her BS in History from Brockport State University of New York and her BA in Interior Design from Design Institute of San Diego. She became an interior designer and owner of Decorating Den Interiors/Team Banks Interiors. Michael earned his BS in Accounting from San Diego State University and his JD from California Western School of Law in San Diego and is now a Superior Court Judge assigned to the North County Regional Center in Vista. Additionally, he teaches trial advocacy skills to lawyers and judges across America and Africa.

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Vanessa and Michael support their communities. Vanessa belongs to the philanthropic Women’s Club of Carlsbad, which focuses on arts, conservation, education, home life, and international/public outreach, and Michael volunteers for Kid’s Turn – an educational organization that helps children and adults endure the challenges of separation/divorce – and Lawyers without Borders.

Their three adult children prosper. Cynthia graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in broadcast journalism and works as a news reporter in Arizona. Annette graduated from California State University Fresno with a degree in nutrition and works as a culinary assistant near Atlanta. Malcolm published a book of poetry and attends San Diego Christian College.

“Despite the distance that separates us and the demands of adult life, the Washingtons remain close,” revealed Michael. They never miss their annual Christmas visit with the children’s godparents and grandmother and maintain contact via texting and calling. While together, they enjoy board games, watching movies, traveling by cruise ship, and exploring adventures like mud runs, skydiving, and jet skiing. Growing up, they enjoyed road trips across America to visit notable landmarks. One particular trip stands out for all. A four-year-old Malcolm who loved dinosaurs and aspired to become a paleontologist convinced the family to visit the Los Angelas Natural History Museum. While there, Malcolm met a practicing paleontologist. Michael shared, “Impressed with Malcolm’s knowledge of dinosaurs, the paleontologist allowed our family to enter the exhibit to touch actual dinosaur eggs.”


Parents: Janet Vanessa Banks and Michael DeWitt Washington
Children: Cynthia Michelle Washington (24, SDSU graduate);
Annette Monique Washington (22, Fresno State University graduate);
Malcom Perry Washington (19, San Diego Christian College freshman)
Community: San Marcos since 2014
Parents’ Hometowns: Vanessa – Hempstead, NY; Michael – Lancaster, CA
Parents’ Occupations: Vanessa – Interior Designer, Owner of Decorating Den Interiors/Team Banks Interiors; Michael – Superior Court Judge
Pet: Dylan, a one-year-old rescued poodle/terrier mix
Favorite Local Places to Visit: Dog Park at Alga Norte Community Park, Edwards Cinemas, Double Peak Park