The pandemic has changed what youth and families need, and how providers can help meet those needs. In tandem, SOWA and Best Starts have adapted our supports for the cohort, all with the shared goal of fostering thriving communities. Since then, we’ve seen the unique and vital role our field plays within the landscape of our communities—it’s never been more apparent how much our work matters.
A new year often means change and that holds true for SOWA’s training opportunities. Janell Jordan, King County Program Manager, shares their excitement for the new King County Training System and provides insight as its project manager. While virtual, trainings are open to any youth development professional and there is no fee to attend.
We did it! 394individuals virtually gathered over 4 days togrow, strategize, nourish, and ultimately work tocreate sustainable impact for our field.
Planning this year was tough, not knowing what folks would need or want in the middle of a pandemic, while also navigating the fight for Black lives and the buildup of fear around the upcoming election. There were so many unknowns we were juggling, and our team worked really hard to ground ourselves and the spaces we curated in our Bridge values: equity, belonging, leadership, nourishing, change, innovation, community.
While in program, kids could have some of their social emotional learning needs met with casual time they were craving with the other kids in the neighborhood, and have meaningful interactions with supportive adults. “They weren’t able to talk to their teachers, so they came to us and asked questions about Black Lives Matter. We’ve been able to really deepen our relationships with them.” Says Cyoon. “I’ve learned so much from them, and am so impressed with the knowledge and awareness that they have.” Jeff says “by creating better relationships with families, everyone is used to us walking down the street towards their house. The more open sessions, even just a normal check-in question have been so impactful. We definitely want to keep some element of virtual program moving forward, to stay connected with kids who aren’t able to attend in person.”