Urban Family Center: Best Starts for Kids Out-of-School Time Grantee Profile
SOWA is excited to work with the many amazing organizations funded through the King County Best Starts for Kids Out-of-School Time (BSK OST) investment! These organizations, funded either as stand alone People of Color-Led organizations or Place-Based Partnerships, are all working hard to maximize their positive impact on King County youth.
Learn more about Urban Family Center, funded as one of the organizations involved in a Place-Based Partnership Grant.
URBAN FAMILY CENTER
Urban Family Center (UFC) is in a Place-Based Partnership with Somali Youth and Family Club (SYFC) and Techbridge Girls at the Creston Point housing community in unincorporated Skyway. They also work in southeast Seattle. UFC provides out-of-school time programming, teen mentoring, school-to-prison pipeline interruption, and gang prevention services.
With the BSK OST investment UFC is partnering with SYFC to jointly serve youth in their community for the first time despite having offices right next to eachother at Creston Point for many years. While they were previously connecting with a limited number of youth largely involved in the program because their parents made them come, new offerings like fencing and swim lessons are engaging more youth who are excited to come to the program and work with contract instructors. The restructuring of the age groups also promotes more bonding experiences and opportunities to address self-esteem. For example, yoga was previously for K-5 and is now K-2, and 3-5 are with 6-8 for “all swim”. Techbridge Girls is also providing consistent programming to ensure that young girls have access to high quality STEM learning.
This investment has already tripled the capacity for UFC’s summer programming—last year they could only serve 30 to 40 kids, and saw 80-100 every day this year with 140 registered. This means there’s an enormous difference in their ability to serve kids. It also frees up staff capacity to support SYFC’s interns. This year, the high school interns were provided with a robust experience in which they received coaching and job skill development as opposed to previous summers when they were largely delegated tasks.
UFC is grateful for SOWA’s guidance in YPQ work including the internal and external assessment process, as it’s hard to measure strengths and growth areas without an intentional focus on observing programs. The YPQ process and SOWA more broadly ensures that organizations don’t have to start from square one and provides ongoing support, including providing a cohort of youth development peers to discuss challenges with and learn from.
The Place-Based model enables rich, collaborative work. UFC no longer feels they’re on an island at Creston Point, and are working with SYFC instead of independently attempting to maintain successful programs. Kids are benefitting because there are more staff working with them, creating more opportunities for mentorship. Ultimately, this partnership is working to bridge the divide between African American youth and youth who are the children of African immigrants, and provide access to high quality programming situated within their housing community.