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White House Announces Summer Opportunity Project

by School's Out Washington | | Posted under School's Out News

Washington in Washington! From Left: SOWA's David Beard; Peace Community Center's Bill Hanawalt, Champion of Change for Summer Opportunity; Long Phan from Seattle Mayor Murray's office

Washington in Washington! From Left: SOWA’s David Beard; Peace Community Center’s Bill Hanawalt, Champion of Change for Summer Opportunity; Long Phan from Seattle Mayor Murray’s office

School’s Out Washington’s Education Policy and Advocacy Director, David Beard, traveled to the White House last week for the official launch of President Obama’s new Summer Opportunity Project. This initiative is a multi-pronged approach aimed at providing support and encouragement to grow the job skills and leadership abilities of youth by helping them to obtain summer jobs and providing additional support and enrichment over the critical summer months.

Also representing the partnership and Washington were Long Phan of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s Office and Bill Hanawalt, Executive Director of Tacoma’s Peace Community Center. Hanawalt was also honored during the launch as one of nine White House Champions of Change for Summer Opportunity for his work supporting youth who are underrepresented in college in growing their academic and leadership skills through in-school, after-school and summer programs.

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One initiative highlighted by the President was the collaboration between the City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, and SOWA which will impact over 15,000 youth in the city to help stop the summer slide, provide enrichment and meals, and help students obtain their first summer job, and more.

In addition to the work of SOWA and its partners in Washington State, the Summer Opportunity Project will work nationally in collaboration with both the public and private sectors. Partnerships include those with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) and LinkedIn, which will work organizations on the ground to support summer jobs for youth. NSLA’s work is focusing on closing the achievement gap by creating a Best Practices Network aimed at increasing the quality of summer programming for youth.

At the launch, Senior Advisor to the President, Valerie Jarrett, highlighted additional initiatives including the President’s commitment to summer meals and the importance of summer learning. Acting U.S. Education Secretary John King, Jr discussed projects aimed at the opportunities summer brings and how they reduce summer slide. SOWA is honored to be a part of the President’s work on the local, state, and national level.


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