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Best Starts for Kids Out-of-School Time Grant Kick-Off!

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

By Lex Gavin, BSK Program Quality Coordinator

On Friday January 19th, Washington Hall was brimming with youth development professionals. Gathered for the Best Starts for Kids Out-of-School Time (BSK OST) Grantee Orientation, over 70 representatives of the 35 organizations funded by the BSK OST grant were joined by SOWA staff members and our partner Megan McJennett, BSK 5-24 Policy and Program Manager, with the King County Department of Community and Human Services.

For some, it was like a reunion—they saw folks they’ve been in the field with for many moons but perhaps hadn’t seen in person for years. For others, it was their first glimpse of the rich network of youth workers in King County. Organizations were arranged at tables with others doing related work to them like STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) education, immigrant and refugee support, and hip hop-based prevention programs.

Emily Mavaddat from Techbridge Girls and Micahel Passian with Walk Away City Collaborative engage in some interactive activities. 

Neighborhood House's Shak Sanders meeting fellow OST providers

The session was kicked off, and after an introduction of the SOWA BSK staff, there were three rounds of grantee “speed-dating” where people had an opportunity to learn more about the diverse work being funded by this grant. There was an overview of the BSK OST grant itself, including the vision of BSK presented by Megan, and then grantees were able to revisit the reporting and compliance stipulations of the grant as well as what quality pathway participation looked like (and meant!).

After a quick break, everyone in the room participated in the community building activity Common Ground. It was important not only to establish connections with other service providers but also with folks at SOWA and the County, as we are all in partnership with each other in this work to provide young people with high-caliber programming.

Fun times with Kent Youth & Family Services' Jeff Girmus

The last educational component of the day was a review of the contract requirements, including the Youth Program Registry. Grantees were led in a closing reflection, where it was established that while there were challenges and unknowns about what the next three years look like, there was a lot of excitement around actually starting this process, developing strong collaboration, and delivering great programming. We’re all looking forward to the opportunities that these funds will provide the young people of King County!

Learn more about the Best Starts for Kids Quality OST grantees and the role of SOWA in supporting this new investment.


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