Our Mission Statement
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.
What is School's Out Washington?
For three decades, SOWA has served a critical role as the expert and backbone organization working closely with programs offered outside the traditional school day. We work to ensure high-quality afterschool and summer programs are available so all of Washington’s youth—but especially low-income youth and youth of color—can have the opportunities they deserve to thrive.
Education continues beyond the school day, and so should young people’s access to high-quality expanded learning opportunities. These programs complement classroom instruction by building lifelong skills, improving academic performance, and inspiring young people to discover their individual passions.
We support these programs through our four pronged approach:
- Quality & Training
- Policy & Advocacy
- Grants to Programs
- Racial Equity
School's Out Washington is the fiscal sponsor for Youth Development Executives of King County (YDEKC) and SOAR, two community coalitions serving young people in the Seattle area.
SOWA started in 1987 as a pilot project of the City of Seattle, when we provided training and technical assistance to afterschool programs in King County. Over the years, we have expanded our reach across the state of Washington. Starting with just one employee, SOWA today has more than 30 staff and many more coaches and assessors working to achieve our mission.
Our Commitment to Racial Equity
Data on a variety of youth outcomes show us that racial disparities continue to exist. At SOWA, we are committed to addressing how these disparities impact young people in our communities.
We believe that access to high-quality expanded learning opportunities is essential for closing the opportunity gap and challenging inequity. We know first-hand from three decades of work in diverse communities how expanded learning opportunities can level the playing field. That is why we strive to increase access to quality programs for youth of color and low-income youth so that they have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
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The Nitty Gritty: Our Annual Report and Strategic Plan
Would you like a deeper understanding of our goals and the opportunities and challenges we face? SOWA’s current strategic plan guides our work through 2017, identifying goals and actions focused on strengthening our internal operations and the field of expanded learning opportunites.
Download the 2016-2017 Strategic Plan