Summer Learning Week

Celebrate Summer Learning Week July 12-16, 2021! Put Washington and your program on the map for National Summer Learning Week 2021! Summer Learning Week is the largest advocacy and communications event of the year for summer programming – help us show how amazing we are in Washington and how incredible all of our summer programs are by registering your event on the National Summer Learning Association website. Anything goes – a field day, family night, or a site visit with legislators – use your creativity to show the state and country how great your program is. Join us for a statewide virtual kick-off for Summer Learning Week! … [ ]

Centering Joy—How Best Starts ensures King County youth are happy, healthy, safe and thriving

The Best Starts for Kids initiative is designed to ensure that all young people in King County are happy, healthy, safe and thriving. In the Out-of-School Time initiative, SOWA partners with organizations providing afterschool and summer programming to elementary and middle school age youth. Our cohort of providers prioritize the well-being of their participants and their community. There is no shortage of happiness within their work!  Below are two organizations who made it their mission to spread joy during difficult times.  Empowering Youth and Families Outreach (EYFO) developed creative ways to connect, despite isolation within the pandemic. The organization held … [ ]

Life Enrichment Group cultivates scholars and leaders in Rainier Beach

“I have something I want to say,” a middle school boy in the back row said unexpectedly. He stood in front of family and friends, who had gathered for Parent’s Night in the Rainier Beach Community Center to celebrate the accomplishments of their kids in The Scholars Project. “Before this program, I used to have a bad attitude. But I got here and I was inspired. I connected so much with these guys. I really changed as a person.” It seemed like something out of a marketing campaign, but it was straight from the heart– and his parents nodded in … [ ]

Summer Leadership Academy promotes education, entrepreneurship, and empathy

When I arrive at the basement of the Holly Park Community Church where Empowering Youth and Families Outreach (EYFO) runs their Summer Leadership Academy summer camp, I happen upon a rare moment of quiet–all of the campers are across the street enjoying the newly renovated Othello Park. Director and Founder Charlett Shoecraft is still bustling around in preparation for their next activity, tidying the supplies on the sea of tables. When we sit down and start talking about the summer program’s highlights, she pulls out her phone and scrolls through dozens of photos to help her keep track of what all they’ve done. It … [ ]

WAPI Community Services uses hip hop to keep kids safe in summer

The kids file out of the van and into WAPI Community Services’ Federal Way studio. They’ve just arrived from the Seola Gardens site of Neighborhood House, which, like WAPI, is a cohort member of the Best Starts for Kids Out-of-School Time initiative. They sit down in front of iPads, drum pads, and production-quality headphones that absolutely dwarf the middle schoolers, and are barely able to contain their excitement. They’ve here to learn hip hop music production, and within 15 minutes they’re engrossed in the creation of their songs. “Mr. Karrie, listen to this,” they excitedly shout, trying to get WAPI’s Prevention Coordinator and Lead … [ ]

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 … [ ]