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Best Starts for Kids Quality Out-of-School Time Grantees Announced

by Danielle Baer | | Posted under Afterschool and Summer News, School's Out News

New investments provide more children and youth with quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities that promote healthy development

Seattle, WA – School’s Out Washington in partnership with Best Starts for Kids announced new investments to create more opportunities for children and young people to flourish outside of the school day. 

The new investment will expand access to quality before, after school, weekend, and summer learning and enrichment opportunities for elementary and middle school students. Best Starts and School’s Out Washington awarded 19 grants totaling 8.3 million in Best Starts for Kids funding over 3 years. Awardees include single organizations and partnerships representing 35 organizations across King County.

“Thanks to these investments, kids will have enriching places to go before and after school,” said King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. “I am happy to see the geographical and cultural diversity of these grant recipients, many of whom work in South King County.”

The investment includes a two-pronged strategy: investing in a partnership of organizations centered around a school or housing community; and supporting organizations led by and serving people of color to increase their capacity to deliver high-quality, impactful services.

“By approaching this investment with two different strategies, we are responding to community input gathered throughout the Best Starts for Kids planning process” said Elizabeth Whitford, CEO of School’s Out Washington. “We want to make sure that more low-income children and youth have consistent access to high quality summer and afterschool programs connected to their schools or communities, while also ensuring targeted support for organizations founded by and within communities of color to help grow their programming and capacity within King County’s summer and afterschool system.”

In addition to providing programming to kids afterschool and in the summer, the selected organizations will engage in a research-based quality improvement process. Organizations will receive coaching and training from School’s Out Washington focused on positive youth interaction and engagement.

Best Starts for Kids identified School’s Out Washington as a partner to administer the Quality Out-of-School Time investment because of School’s Out’s long record of accomplishment in promoting high quality and culturally-responsive practices in summer and afterschool programs across Washington state.

“While this investment makes great strides in filling gaps in some of our highest needs communities across the county, we know it is just a beginning,” said Elizabeth Whitford, School’s Out Washington’s CEO. “With so many competitive proposals, narrowing down the decision was very challenging and a testament to the great work happening across our county and the opportunity for additional investments from the private sector to further leverage Best Starts for Kids and impact even more kids with quality afterschool and summer programs.”

Funded programs represent a wide range of activities, including the following two examples each representing one of the funding models.

Place-Based Partnership

Neighborhood House will partner with Auburn’s Dick Scobee Elementary and Cascade Middle Schools to provide afterschool and summer programming to children and youth, living in and around the housing communities of Burndale Homes and Firwood Circle. 

People of Color Led Organization

East African Community Services provides afterschool and summer programming for middle school and elementary school low-income, under-served East African youth in Southeast Seattle. Programming will focus on academic achievement as well as culture and identity.

The full list of grantees can be found on School’s Out Washington’s website at: https://www.schoolsoutwashington.org/pages/king-county-best-starts-for-kids

 

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School’s Out Washington provides services and guidance for organizations to ensure all young people have safe places to learn and grow when not in school. SOWA is dedicated to building community systems to support quality afterschool, youth development and summer programs for Washington’s children and youth ages 5 through young adulthood. 

Best Starts for Kids is considered the most comprehensive approach to child development in the nation. The initiative invests an average of $65 million per year to support King County families and children so that babies are born healthy, children thrive, and young people grow into happy, healthy adults.

 

 

 

 

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