by Gennette Cordova
As a child growing up in Seattle in the ʼ90s, I had the great fortune of receiving a wide range of non-familial nurturing, from the Miller Jet coaches to the Leschi Elementary School teachers. At Garfield Community Center, where I spent years enrolled in the after-school program and the summer camp, I always knew I had eyes on me. Eyes of adults who both cared about my well-being and would be quick to let my mom know if I was out of line.
When I became an adult who was responsible for children, I learned that after-school programs in our city aren’t readily available to many families. This is something that’s hard for me to understand, particularly in one of the wealthiest cities in the nation.
Continue reading OPINION | After-School Programs Are Vital for Children but Still Out of Reach for Most Parents
by Ari Robin McKenna
When Drew Campbell was in middle school in the Renton Highlands, he’d often watch recess alone from inside the classroom while all his peers played outside. After they lined up and came back into the building, he was allowed out into the schoolyard for his turn, wondering, “Would I ever be able to interact with the regular kids?” In the large, mostly empty classroom where he spent the rest of the day with two other students — each with their own Individual Education Plan (IEP) — posters mostly covered the windows to shield the three of them from being made fun of. When learning, they were separated by cubicle walls — not unlike those recently used to deter COVID-19 transmission — only they weren’t transparent. The isolation that Campbell felt, and the bullying he faced daily from peers after being excluded from their midst by adults after an ADHD diagnosis, is something he will never forget.
Yet born from this traumatic three years of his life was a desire to hone in on what students with a lot of energy — especially Black boys — need to be able to learn with enthusiasm and purpose. Though the public education system may have tried to fail Campbell, he learned from his experience a critique containing answers to questions now being asked publicly: How can we end the school-to-prison pipeline? How can we stop failing to engage Black boys? How can we make public education more inclusive?
Continue reading Drew Campbell Talks Shine Kinesthetic: Learning by Doing, Exploring, Discovering
by Mark Van Streefkerk
For most of its members, returning to the YMCA means adapting to a new normal of gym life during a pandemic. Members can now sign up in advance to reserve 45-minute time slots for workouts, including swim sessions. Temperature checks, face masks, and adherence to other safety protocols are all required. Nearly all YMCAs in King County, including South King County’s Meredith Mathews, Matt Griffin, and Kent locations, reopened for member use on Aug. 19, in accordance with Governor Inslee’s fitness guidance for Phases 2 and 3. Adapting to a new normal of pandemic-adapted fitness, however, is just the tip of the iceberg for the nonprofit’s community outreach.
“Although we stopped serving members in our facility [in March], we never really closed our doors,” said Alonda Williams, senior vice president and chief experience officer for the YMCA of Greater Seattle. “Right away we focused on making sure that we were taking care of first responders by caring for their children. We did emergency child care right away [and] we continued our hunger programs … It was something that we were committed to from the very beginning.”
In mid-March, right as YMCAs across the county closed their gym facilities, the organization unified to meet crucial community needs. “We turned [our locations] into child care facilities,” Williams affirmed, noting that combined Y locations provided more than 17,000 hours of child care to first responders and over 300,000 meals to youth and families with the support of partners like Safeway and Microsoft. “Many of those kids would have been on free or reduced lunch, so without being in school [they] might not have otherwise had support,” she noted.
Continue reading YMCA Introduces Workouts by Appointment and After-School Enrichment Programs ‘In A Box’