Category Archives: Features

Our Future Matters: N2N Grant Helps Build Capacity for Youth Leadership

by Kamna Shastri


Pulemau Savusa was a high school student when she co-founded the “Our Future Matters” program as a part of YES! Foundation, a community nonprofit based in White Center. Years later, she is the program’s director, inspiring youth to advocate for their education and enrichment to gain opportunities much like she did. Savusa went on to pursue a degree in Education Studies at UW Bothell because of her work with youth.

Founded in 2000, YES! Foundation itself is dedicated to working with children and creating opportunities for youth in the White Center neighborhood. Their website states that “in doing so, we share resources and social capital with our community’s children and youth because we believe that having access to powerful life experiences and solid relationships is a good foundation for the development of strong, healthy, equipped leaders.”

YES! Foundation is rooted in the concept of collaborative partnerships. One central partnership has been with Cascade Middle School in the Highline Public School District, where they have been operating after-school programming for more than two years. Other community partnerships have involved the White Center Community Development Association, Cascade Bicycle Club, World Vision, and A.I.G.A Link, among others.

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Weekend Long Reads: The Kids Are Eating a Lot More Pizza

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s “long read” is a report from a 20-year study on the food consumption habits of American youth. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NAHANES) has been collecting data since 1999, in two-year intervals, on what foods kids are eating, broken out across four categories: unprocessed and minimally processed; processed culinary ingredients such as oils; processed foods like cheeses; and “ultraprocessed” foods such as fast food, sweetened beverages, and store-bought ready-to-heat dishes.

In their most recent cohort, 2017–2018, they found that over two-thirds of the calories consumed by youth are from ultraprocessed food, up from 61.4% in 1999. The ready-to-heat/eat category jumped from 2.2% all the way up to 11.1%; that includes store-bought pizza, hamburgers, and sandwiches, and pizza alone is now over 5% of kids’ total calorie consumption.

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We Can Be Heroes: The Summer Blood Shortage and Why It’s Vital for BIPOC to Donate

by Mark Van Streefkerk


It’s easy to feel helpless or overwhelmed in the face of looming and large-scale crises — like a pandemic, climate change, and systemic inequities, for starters — but there’s one thing you can do that’s free, relatively quick and easy, always in demand, and directly saves lives: donating blood. 

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion, which can be essential for cancer patients, trauma victims, premature babies, very ill COVID-19 patients, and more. One pint of donated blood can be used for live-saving treatment for three people. 

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South End Students Lead Push to Install Solar Panels at Highline High School

by Ben Adlin


Dozens of solar panels will eventually cover the roof of Highline High School’s new building in Burien under a student-led plan to build the largest solar-power system ever at a South King County public school.

Installation of the project would occur next year if the project meets its January 2022 fundraising deadline. Once complete, the 100-kilowatt solar array would not only produce clean electricity but also provide experiential, STEM-based learning opportunities for students, who could monitor the system’s flow of energy in real time.

In addition to seeking public grants and funds from private foundations, the students are also gathering individual donations through the Highline Schools Foundation. A related GoFundMe campaign launched earlier this year described the project as “living proof that solar energy is attainable in any neighborhood, even those with modest per capita incomes. And YOU will help us get there!”

The idea began with a question last summer from then-Highline senior Nha Khuc, who was in the midst of an environmental internship through King County. What would it take, Khuc asked one of the professionals she met in the program, to put solar panels on Highline’s new roof?

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For 27 Years, SCS Has Been a Catch-All for Seattle’s Somali Community

by Kamna Shastri


As an immigrant, it can be grating and alienating to go about your daily life without hearing the familiar lilt of your mother tongue. When you have moved to the United States to escape war or political instability and are trying to put down roots, it’s as important to retain a connection to your community as it is to make inroads into this new culture. This was the case for Sahra Farah, founder and director of Somali Community Services (SCS) of Seattle, based in Renton.

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Why Don’t We See More People of Color on the Trails of Washington State?

by Caroline Guzman


A friend from India took me to Snow Lake last year. At Snow Lake, there are certain birds so accustomed to humans they will land on your hand or arms for bird seed. Having that connection with the birds made me realize I should stop being anxious about a future I cannot control and start living in the present as wild animals do to enjoy such unprecedented moments. On our way back, my friend and I noticed there were not many People of Color on the trail and we discussed how lovely it would’ve been for our families to experience what we did. 

Being surrounded by the Puget Sound, breathtaking landscapes, mountains, and of course, our iconic active volcano Mount Rainier have led Seattle to be named one of “The World’s Greatest Places of 2021” by TIME Magazine. The Washington Office of Financial Management reported that Washington State added 109,800 people throughout 2019 — a 1.5% increase. But many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) residents have not gotten the opportunity to see and enjoy the beautiful wilderness that Washington State offers. 

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Weekend Long Reads: The Climate Change Report

by Kevin Schofield


This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its new Sixth Assessment Report on the current scientific consensus on where things stand with regard to our changing global climate. It’s an update on its last report (the Fifth Assessment) from 2013, with hundreds of scientists from all over the world collaborating to provide both assessments of the current climate and also updated models of what is most likely to happen from here.

The new report is 3,949 pages. That is a “long read” even outside of my tolerance, so I’m not going to suggest that you read it.  Instead, I’m going to point you to three much shorter documents to read:

  • IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers;
  • IPCC’s Regional Fact Sheet for Central and North America, which focuses on the present and future impacts of climate change here in our own backyard; and
  • An excellent summary by the news site Quartz on the key findings from the full report.
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It Takes a Village: The Multicultural Care Network of ODMF

by Kamna Shastri


How do you navigate a support system for people with disabilities when you don’t know English? The compounding circumstances of having a disability, or caring for a loved one with a disability, while also struggling to master an American standard of English creates a unique need for multicultural families. As it is, the reams of paperwork, bureaucracy, and agencies that make up the maze of social services are already convoluted even if one knows English and has few barriers to access.

Open Doors for Multicultural Families (ODMF) has been dedicated to filling this service gap through a cultural brokerage model and systems-change approach. The organization was founded in 2009 by Ginger Kwan, whose vision was to see all “culturally and linguistically diverse individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities and their families thrive in an inclusive society of their own design.” Since its founding, ODMF has helped connect over a thousand individuals and families with tailored support and language access. Kwan now serves as the organization’s executive director.

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From Refugee Camp to Harborview Pediatrics Head, Dr. Anisa Ibrahim Inspires Patients

by Sally James


When Dr. Anisa Ibrahim was a child at a refugee camp in Kenya, she remembers admiring the health care workers who took care of the people there. She began telling people she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. In her homeland of Somalia, war had made living impossible, so her family fled the country when she was 5 years old in 1992. 

Ibrahim is now the boss of the pediatric clinic at Harborview Medical Center. Earlier this year, the Carnegie Corporation of New York named her a Great Immigrants honoree of 2021

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Weekend Long Reads: Long COVID

by Kevin Schofield


This weekend’s main “long read” deals with a scary topic: “long COVID.” This is how the medical community has come to refer to incidents where a patient diagnosed with COVID-19 initially seems to recover but continues to suffer ongoing symptoms for weeks or even months. Doctors have established two categories of long COVID: “ongoing symptomatic COVID” (OSC), in which symptoms continue on for four to 12 weeks after the initial illness; and “post-COVID syndrome” for symptoms that persist after 12 weeks.

Long COVID is still an emerging phenomenon since COVID-19 has barely been around long enough to start to complete longitudinal studies, but by existing estimates, 10% or more of the general population who contract COVID-19 will have some form of long COVID to follow, and the percentage is much higher in some high-risk populations (including those hospitalized with COVID-19). But little is still known about exactly what the risk factors are for long COVID, and how they compare to COVID-19 itself.

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