It takes a village—community, family, and furry friends promote reading in Auburn

Trying new things can be nerve-wracking, so calm and non-judgmental support makes all the difference. For kids working on their reading skills in the Firwood Circle housing community in Auburn, the best support comes from dogs. Every week, through the Reading with Rover (RWR) program, they are able to have time in a zoom meeting where they read to a trained therapy dog. “It’s really comforting to the kids, and creates a safe space. Their anxiety doesn’t get in the way when they’re reading,” says Andy Pham, Youth Engagement Coordinator with Neighborhood House (NH) at Firwood Circle. “And the dogs are good listeners and … [ ]

Partnering across school, home, and community

Seattle Public Schools’ (SPS) partnership with housing providers and community-based organizations is rooted in the belief that children learn best when they experience a cohesive, stable, and safe learning environment filled with caring adults. When school districts, affordable housing providers, and community partners come together, we can build positive partnerships with families, provide wrap around supports for children, and improve our education and housing services for current and future generations. SPS partners with about a dozen affordable housing partners to support access to learning opportunities, build strong school and family relationships, and address housing instability. To highlight the value of … [ ]

Partners in Bellevue help youth experiencing homelessness maintain connection and support

That three siblings attend the same Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue afterschool program isn’t itself remarkable. This is a common occurrence for families, after all. In this case, however, it’s a testament to the well-oiled services provided by the members of the Bellevue Collaborative—the children are experiencing homelessness, and are attending different schools. Despite the uncertainty that they face in so many arenas in their lives, they have a space where they can connect as family, play as kids, and be supported academically and socially by caring adults. The Bellevue Collaborative is right to identify this as a triumph … [ ]

Feed Your Brain with summer learning

During the school year, youth have access to structured learning and consistent meals. However, when school ends and summer begins, that structure disappears. In summer, all children can be impacted by summer learning loss, but in-particular low-income children can lose “two to three months of reading and math, while their higher-income peers make slight gains.”1 These disparities increase over time with each summer slide deepening on the achievement gap for young people. Summer is a unique opportunity to explore learning in exciting ways. Benjamin Baird, SOWA’s Spokane County Program Quality Manager, explained that “during the school year, kids touch on many subjects but rarely … [ ]

Serving community through the kitchen

Community permeates every aspect of Ms. Patrice Freeman’s kitchen at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club of King County in southeast Seattle. Smiles from the pictures of family members, staff, and Club graduates are posted all over the kitchen walls. The food is more than just nutritious and filling, it’s delicious. Nothing asserts this claim more than the clean plates kids present to staff after meals. I was able to sample the meal being served the day I visited the Boys & Girls Club and taste the flavors curated by Ms. Patrice. The warm, soft whole-grain bread, crunchy coleslaw, and sweet mangos … [ ]

Doubling the numbers—exponential growth in participation and retention for the afterschool center at the Salvation Army Seattle in White Center

Washington is ranked 25th hungriest state in the nation with 1 in 5 kids in our state living in a household that struggles to put food on the table. Food insecurity refers to households that lack available financial resources for food or may have to make trade-offs between basic needs and buying adequate nutritious food. Hunger can create obstacles to learning and growing. Afterschool and summer meals are a critical component of keeping children and youth all across our state full, healthy, and ready to learn. During their time at the After School Center, youth receive supper, homework help (math, spelling, reading), activities, … [ ]