Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. For over 20 years, Pongo has mentored poetry with children at the Child Study and Treatment Center (CSTC), the only state-run psychiatric hospital for youth in Washington State. Many CSTC youth are coping with severe emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Approximately 40% of youth arrive at CSTC having been court ordered to get treatment; however, by the end of their stay, most youth residents become voluntary participants.
Pongo believes there is power in creative expression and articulating one’s pain to an empathetic audience. Through this special monthly column in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald, Pongo invites readers to bear witness to the pain, resilience, and creative capacity of youth whose voices and perspectives are too often relegated to the periphery. To partner with Pongo in inspiring healing and relief in youth coping with mental and emotional turmoil, join the Pongo Poetry Circle today.
Sweetheart Kind Expressions
by a young person at CSTC
My life is like a cake that’s been smooshed in half,
Continue reading PONGO POETRY | Memories and Love
Thrown away, and forgotten about
My heart has been broken more times than I can remember
Like a bone that’s been fractured and destroyed multiple times
My memories are happy and never doubt
That you won’t be a good person
Kind, funny, nice, generous, and happy
Always remember to be happy
When you do, it makes you smile
With a tingle in your bones
It makes you want to hug someone
Or listen to songs that make you happy
Keep living a good life
by Victor Simoes
In February, The 5th Avenue Theatre will tour local schools with its educational show, the Northwest Bookshelf series. This series started in 1994, under the name Adventure Musical Theatre, as a way to bring the magic of musical theater out of a traditional theater environment and into the classroom.
Continue reading Northwest Bookshelf Brings the Magic of Musical Theater to the Classroom
by Ronnie Estoque
On Jan. 20, Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda) hosted a ceremony for the groundbreaking of Building A of the North Lot Project, which will provide 160 units of affordable housing to the North Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: North Lot Breaks Ground in Beacon Hill, Future Site of 160 Affordable Homes
by Danielle Marie Holland
I am walking toward the tall wall of seemingly endless rows of barbed wire. I see each step of mine, the foot of a child, exposed, frail and swollen. My fingers graze the fence as I begin a frantic climb. Advancing upward, my hands are shaking as each new grasp cuts abrasions into my skin, widening and deepening with each fresh slice. My head gets light, and blood drips from my palms as I clamp down to muffle screams of pain. I hear shouting in the direction of the guard tower, followed by a gunshot. Then, another. My body freezes, my muscles are shocked. As I fall, everything turns black. Abruptly, I wake up. This is always where I wake up.
Continue reading OPINION | Never Again: Reflections on International Holocaust Remembrance Day
by Megan Burbank
When the Sounders announced their partnership with new jersey sponsor Providence Medical Group earlier this month, the team touted it as a win-win for youth mental health. “Today’s announcement is less about the mark that our players will wear across their chests on gameday and more about the deep community investment that Providence and Sounders FC are coming together to fulfill,” said Sounders FC majority owner Adrian Hanauer in a media release posted to the team’s website on Friday, Jan. 20. “Mental health — especially for young people —– is a critical part of a healthy society, and we’re looking forward to employing the resources and reach of our two organizations to focus on these outcomes.”
Many fans don’t see the partnership as a positive. In a swift response, Emerald City Supporters shared an open letter to Sounders management the next day, expressing concern that Providence’s history of denying reproductive and gender-affirming health care made the organization an unfit partner for a team with a professed dedication to equity.
Continue reading Sounders Fans Speak Out Against Jersey Sponsor Providence: ‘What Happened to Our Shared Values?’
by Lauryn Bray
In December 2022, King County and Chief Seattle Club announced that the Salmonberry Lofts in Pioneer Square became the fifth Health Through Housing building to begin moving tenants in. The Health Through Housing initiative is a “regional approach to address chronic homelessness at a countywide scale.” Introduced by King County Executive Dow Constantine in his 2020 budget speech, the Health Through Housing initiative dedicates one-tenth of a cent of sales tax revenue to the purchase and renovation of motels, hotels, and other buildings to be converted to emergency and permanent housing.
Continue reading Health Through Housing Initiative and Chief Seattle Club to Provide Housing With Culturally Competent Social Services
by Ronnie Estoque
On March 6, the Summit Community Center (SCC) — a space for adults ages 18–29 with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) — will be opening its doors in the Capitol Hill neighborhood (1830 Broadway Ave.). Overlooking the north end of Cal Anderson Park, the SCC will offer programming and various classes that focus on four core pillars for its community members: education, recreation, community, and growth.
Continue reading Summit Community Center to Open for Local Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
The beloved donut spot serves up ‘magic and excitement’ at its new location in the former Beach Bakery
by Amanda Ong
In September 2022, Rainier Beach landmark King Donuts moved into Beach Bakery’s former location at 7820 Rainier Ave. S. The beloved family business has been a longtime community favorite, easily memorable for its joint operation as a donut shop, laundromat, and teriyaki counter. Though it has been in existence for decades, the Chhuor family has run King Donuts since 2017. Reopening after a break in 2021, the family dropped teriyaki from the menu, and they haven’t had laundry service since 2019. The recent move also solidifies a new direction for King Donuts.
Continue reading Catching Up With Rainier Beach’s King Donuts