Tag Archives: Youth

Washington Ends Practice of Parents Paying for Their Child’s Incarceration

by Agueda Pacheco Flores


After more than three decades, a law that dramatically impacted families in the state of Washington was repealed. The policy, known as “parent pay,” which required parents to pay for their child’s time in incarceration, came to an end last month with overwhelming bipartisan support.

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NEWS GLEAMS: Seattle Foundation Names New Leader, ‘Seattle Within Reach,’ & More!

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!


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South Seattle Students Eye Third Consecutive National Solar Car Championship

by Ben Adlin


For hours before and after classes, a group of high school students in Tukwila can be found hunched over laptops and soldering stations, welding and angle grinding, and occasionally driving circles in the parking lot. Their goal: to design and build a solar-powered car capable of defending the group’s back-to-back championship titles this summer at the National Solar Car Challenge in Texas.

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PONGO POETRY: Self-Discovery Jigsaw

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 their GiveBig campaign today.

Content Warning: Discussion of child abuse


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FEEST Empowers Students to Action Across Seattle

by Ronnie Estoque


Access to affordable, healthy, culturally relevant foods in schools has always been a focus point for FEEST, an organization led by Youth of Color in South Seattle and south King County. Recently, FEEST has reassessed the curriculum they’ve taught their students in Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Highline Public Schools (HPS) to help improve their organizing skills. Both SPS and HPS have guaranteed that their school food will be free to all students for the remainder of the 2021–2022 academic term.

“We want school lunch to be free for everyone K–12, indefinitely,” said Cece Flanagan, a community organizing and training manager at FEEST. “We are also ensuring that youths’ basic needs are being met by offering free groceries and meal deliveries, loaning technology to connect to school/virtual meetings, ensuring youth [organizers] are connected to mental health supports, and paying them a competitive wage.”

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Team Read Connects Teens and Young Readers to Nurture the Joy of Reading

by Sandra LeDuc


“Reading is important because it expands your mind, your life. It extends your world,” said Haitian American writer Edwidge Danticat. Reading is also an essential skill that significantly impacts academic and career success in our country. But Children and Communities of Color, including many immigrants, often do not have equitable access to resources to learn and practice reading, making literacy a social justice issue.

Through their cross-age, one-on-one tutoring program, Seattle nonprofit Team Read is working to provide more equitable access to reading. The free program pairs trained teen reading coaches with second- and third-grade students to “propel young students to become inspired, joyful readers and teens to become impactful leaders.” The organization partnered with Seattle and Highline Public Schools to serve 22 elementary schools last school year and expanded its programming to include elementary schools in Renton and Tukwila this school year.

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Seedcast: We Are the Future Elders

by Clear Sky Native Youth Leadership Council interns Kayla Harstad, Lailani Norman, Tim Shay, and Akichita Taken Alive

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.


During Native American Heritage Month, we have a unique opportunity as Native teens to reflect on what the world expects from us and hopes for us. It can be overwhelming and exciting to think about what the future holds and the responsibilities we might take on, but one way we’ve each been able to gain clarity is through our involvement with the Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council, a youth-focused and directed program of the Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA). Clear Sky provides opportunities for deepening our connections with our intertribal community, while also affirming our cultural values, worldview, and traditional knowledge systems as well as empowering us to navigate racist colonial systems through advocacy, activism, and action. As individuals, we are teenagers, students, siblings, daughters and sons, and grandchildren as well as neighbors and friends to all in our community. But together, we have joined with our peers to take advantage of lessons in order to build the knowledge we need to stand in our truths as future elders.

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PONGO POETRY: It Used to Be Different

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 youth at the Children & Family Justice Center (CFJC), King County’s juvenile detention facility. Many CFJC residents are Youth of Color who have endured traumatic experiences in the form of abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. These incidents have been caused and exacerbated by community disinvestment, systemic racism, and other forms of institutional oppression. In collaboration with CFJC staff, Pongo poetry writing offers CFJC youth a vehicle for self-discovery and creative expression that inspires recovery and healing. Through this special bimonthly 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 their upcoming training on May 21.


IT USED TO BE DIFFERENT

By a young person, age 17

It used to be different
because we used to drive around town
till midnight.
But when you passed away,
it was hard to see you go.

In some ways, it’s the same
because we still drive around town
speeding.
It’s not the same
without you.

Here’s how I want it to change:
I want to hear the car’s being loud—
speeding all the time,
drifting corners. Just so
you can see
from heaven.

Dedicated to family and friends

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OPINION: Unsteadiness

by TQ Vu

(This piece was originally published as part of the Duwamish Valley Youth Storytelling Project and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

As part of the inaugural Duwamish Valley Youth Storytelling Project, three local high school students, Jazmine Petty-Yeates, TQ Vu, and Tommy Mac, had the opportunity to participate in a workshop and develop stories connected to community while also exploring the complexities of their intersecting identities. The workshop was facilitated by journalists and community storytellers Bunthay Cheam and Jenna Hanchard to increase access to journalism for BIPOC and employ youth. The project was in collaboration with the Port Community Action Team and sponsored by the Port of Seattle. The workshop helped students become better listeners and storycatchers to continue passing down and honoring the stories of our communities using their medium of choice.


Words From TQ

For the 16 years I’ve been breathing, my dad has always been there for me. Maybe not exactly when he went into the house right before I fell off my bike and got the worst cut I could’ve imagined. But when I struggled with telling the time or having trouble with my brand new iPad not connecting to the Wi-Fi, my dad was always to the rescue. Bringing me home extra Safeway donuts or buying an extra hamburger when he stopped by Dick’s for lunch. My dad and I have always had a good relationship. But that’s because good father-daughter relationships only require a good father and not necessarily a good daughter. Because I thought I knew everything about my dad, from how he chewed his food to how long it took him to shower or drive to places. It wasn’t like he didn’t tell me stories, either. In fact, I heard many of them from his childhood. How he once chased a chicken onto a roof or how he played soccer barefoot in the streets.

What I never considered was how arduous his experiences might have been. The experiences that have put me where I am now. Although I try to not take everything I have for granted, hearing about his journey here made me realize that I continue to anyway. Because the way he described these experiences made me sound like I was being a complete crybaby over a boy not responding to one of my texts. Because when I finally processed the stories themselves, I could barely imagine myself in his shoes and persevering through these experiences. Because when I stepped into a new building, the only thing you could possibly compare to my dad stepping into a new country was the feeling we both felt.

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PONGO POETRY: Fork in the Road


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 youth at the Children & Family Justice Center (CFJC), King County’s juvenile detention facility. Many CFJC residents are Youth of Color who have endured traumatic experiences in the form of abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. These incidents have been caused and exacerbated by community disinvestment, systemic racism, and other forms of institutional oppression. In collaboration with CFJC staff, Pongo poetry writing offers CFJC youth a vehicle for self-discovery and creative expression that inspires recovery and healing. Through this special bimonthly 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 their upcoming training on May 21.

Continue reading PONGO POETRY: Fork in the Road