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Gov. Inslee Visited YWCA Afterschool Program in Olympia

by Stephanie Lennon | | Posted under Afterschool and Summer News, Policy & Legislation

School’s Out Washington was thrilled to visit the YWCA of Olympia alongside Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday, April 19th!

Located in a beautiful old house in downtown Olympia with a view of the capitol, the YWCA strives to eliminate racism and empower women. The YWCA’s Executive Director, a member of their Board of Directors, program staff, and the youth themselves shared the impact of this amazing organization on women of all ages, and the critical role of their afterschool programs in the community. SOWA Policy and Advocacy Director David Beard was on hand to share with the Governor the reach of expanded learning opportunities across our state, and the positive benefits of high-quality programs like the YWCA for youth and communities in all corners of Washington State.

Governor Inslee heard directly from staff and youth about  the YWCA’s Youth Advisory Board, Girls Without Limits, and Girls Circle programs. The Governor was given an overview of a research project Youth Advisory Board members are completing, using social media to ask other young women what empowers them (you can join in – use the hashtag #WhyIFeelEmpowered!). He then was invited to participate in a Girls Circle, a forum for youth to share their experiences, struggles, and hopes with supportive peers in a safe space. The tour closed with a demonstration from Girls Without Limits, a STEM program that aims to encourage diverse young women to enter STEM professions. Participants demonstrated coding with music to Governor Inslee, using the same technology that professional musicians use every day.

Throughout the visit, youth shared with the Governor the need for safe, inclusive spaces like the YWCA that allow them a chance to feel welcome, empowered, and like they can make real contributions to their community. Additionally, we were able to discuss building systems of support for programs to help them achieve high-quality programming. YWCA is participating this year in the Youth Program Quality process supported by School’s Out Washington.

Governor Inslee asked engaging and thoughtful questions, and the youth rose to the occasion as spokespeople for themselves and their peers. As Governor Inslee remarked as he was leaving, we hope they all run for office one day!

To see videos and photos of the event, visit our Facebook page. Thank you to Governor Inslee, the YWCA of Olympia, and their empowering youth for a fantastic afternoon!

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