Bridge Destination–Tacoma!

Come early and explore! Tacoma is more than just the Greater Tacoma Convention Center and Marriott Tacoma Downtown where this year’s Bridge Conference will be held. Tacoma is a vibrant city filled with art, walking history and spectacular scenery. Why Tacoma? Tacoma is the second most populous area in Washington state and a unique area within Pierce County. The Bridge Planning team chose Tacoma as our conference location for the next two years because we’ve renewed our work in the area and are also excited to highlight the diversity of youth programs offered by local organizations . Our advice? Take … [ ]

Celebrating Sheely Mauck

Critical thinker Curious Resourceful Thought provoker Growth & reflection-oriented Thoughtful Mentor These are some of the words used to describe Sheely Mauck by her team at SOWA. For the last 12 years, Sheely has played a key role in shaping the work, reach, and values of School’s Out Washington—a legacy that includes helping build an equitable expanded learning system across the state. Most recently, Sheely has co-led our Program Quality team, guiding SOWA’s training content, professional learning pedagogy, and program quality approach. Sheely’s youth development foundation was formed by nearly ten years at the Boys & Girls Club, both as … [ ]

Magic mamas—how parent partnership is expanding learning in Northgate

Out-of-School Time program staff are partnering with parents in new ways during this pandemic. With in-person programming mostly closed down, kids are connecting with youth programs virtually from their living rooms and kitchens. And staff are getting creative.   For Rebecca Brito, Recreation Leader at Northgate Elementary with Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR)—a Best Starts for Kids Collaborative with STEMPaths Innovation Network (SPIN)—this parent partnership has been the secret sauce for supporting her students. By tapping into the existing leadership of two mothers in the community, Feben Ghirmatzion and Blanca Melgarejo, nearly 40 kids have stayed engaged in programming despite not being able to attend in person.  “I’ve tried to hire them so many times!” she says, laughing.   The current program design happened organically, building on strong relationships. … [ ]