Home Coalition for Refugees from Burma: Best Starts for Kids Out-of-School Time Grantee Profile

Coalition for Refugees from Burma: 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 Coalition for Refugees from Burma, funded as one of the organizations involved in a Place-Based Partnership Grant.


The Coalition for Refugees from Burma (CRB) is a member of a Place-Based Partnership with Kent Youth and Family Services (KYFS), the YMCA of Greater Seattle, and Somali Youth and Family Club (SYFC), serving the Birch Creek Housing Community in Kent. CRB has a long history of running a variety of educational youth programs targeting K-12 students and their parents, which are supported by partnerships with the Kent School District and Seattle Public Schools. They are also supported by SOWA’s Refugee School Impact Grant, and recently completed their 8th year of services. CRB provides out-of-school time academic enrichment at school sites (with Technology Matching Funds in 2 Seattle school sites), and also recruits and extensively trains tutors for 1-on-1 in-home tutoring to address the transportation barriers for parents in accessing after-school program sites. Parents are supported with digital literacy programs and school navigation information.

With the BSK OST investment, CRB is now supporting KYFS with their long-standing reading program. They are also able to provide technical assistance and capacity building for their partner organizations with a “train the readers” program—they trained 13 KYFS and SYFC staff at Birch Creek on how to use reading mechanics with students and how to get them leveled up in reading.

SOWA’s trainings and their Active Participatory Approach structure provides hands-on opportunities to strengthen programs. The Place-Based funding model allows the relationships KYFS staff has with families at Birch Creek to be leveraged, increasing kids’ access to high-quality programming. Being a housing community, the youth center has already been established and identified as a safe place kids can go after school—and with newly arrived communities often being comprised of single parents or people working multiple jobs (frequently graveyard shifts), a housing community-based venue removed barriers to kids being safe and academically supported. KYFS is very successful in the recruitment and retention of youth. BSK OST funds allowed for Birch Creek partner organizations to have a planning period in order to drill down to the specific approach they would take with this collaboration. CRB’s partnership with the Kent School District allowed them to create distilled reading curriculums based on the IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessments) methods utilized in Kent schools. KYFS has valued the reading mechanics training and CRB will run refresher trainings at the beginning of a school year for all staff and volunteers.