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King County Best Starts for Kids

Quality Out-of-School Time Investment Strategy

King County’s Best Starts for Kids and School’s Out Washington are partnering on the implementation of the Quality Out-of-School Time strategy. This strategy seeks to fund organizations working to provide access to consistent, high quality and culturally relevant summer and afterschool programming to underserved communities and geographies.  

Quality out of school time programs provide children and youth with access to a range of activities from educational enrichment to cultural and social development activities, recreation, physical activity and health promotion, visual and performing arts, tutoring and homework services and leadership skills.

The Quality Out-of-School Time funding strategy includes two funding models:

As part of this investment, all grantees participate in SOWA’s Youth Program Quality Initiative (YPQI) process with the aim of engaging in continuous quality improvement supports and promoting social emotional learning (SEL).

Learn more about the implementation plan for the Best Starts for Kids Out-of-School Time investment process and strategy in the Process Summary and Initial Implementation Plan document.

2018-2021 Best Starts for Kids Quality Out-of-School Time Grantees

Through this new investment of $8.3 Million over the next three years, Best Starts for Kids and School’s Out Washington are awarding a total of 7 Place-Based Partnership grants that include partnerships representing 26 organizations across King County; and 12 People of Color-Led Organization grants.

To learn more about the organizations funded through this investment and how they are utilizing the grant funds, click on the organization name below. The SOWA BSK team will continue to update these profiles with more information throughout the 3-year funding period. 

People of Color-Led Organization Grantees

Model Description

Each awardee will serve a minimum of 20 elementary and/or middle school-age youth for at least 2-4 days/week afterschool, and many will also provide at least 4 weeks of summer programming.

Applicant Name

Funded Amount (over 3 years)


Arts Corps


Arts Corps will expand their reach to provide culturally responsive arts education programming afterschool to elementary youth in Highline Public Schools.

Chinese Information and Service Center


The Chinese Information and Service Center aims to increase math and literacy competency in 57 elementary children from low-income, immigrant families through an expansion of their afterschool program. Funding would go towards hiring two reading specialists and one math specialist to provide more focused, individualized attention to youth.

East African Community Services


East African Community Services provides afterschool and summer programming for around 150 middle school and elementary school low-income, under-served East African youth. Programming will focus on academic achievement as well as culture and identity.

Empowering Youth & Families Outreach


Empowering Youth and Families Outreach provides before and afterschool, as well as summer programming to around 150 middle and elementary school youth annually. Best Starts for Kids funds will help provide scholarships to families who cannot afford programming, increase STEM exposure, and build capacity to better meet the needs of the youth they serve.

Filipino Community of Seattle


The Filipino Community of Seattle will support low-income, at-risk middle school youth of color with limited technology or technical skills to build relationships with their community, learn critical thinking and team-building skills, and identify community needs, all while learning how to use graphic design tools and web development coding languages to create projects that promote social justice through our STEAM HCD (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math Human Centered Design) Program.

Iraqi Community Center of Washington


Iraqi Community Center of Washington will provide afterschool programming and Saturday Arabic classes for 20-25 Iraqi refugee elementary aged youth in Kent's East Hill neighborhood. Programming will center on academic and English support, and the preservation of cultural heritage.

Life Enrichment Group


Life Enrichment Group will expand The Scholar's Project to reach African American elementary youth at South Shore K-8 during the school year and summer. Programs will support youth through positive channels of education, cultural awareness, performing arts, and mentorship, with a focus on academic achievement.

Living Well Kent


Living Well Kent's Building a Path to Graduation program will provide afterschool, Saturday, and summer supports to immigrant and refugee elementary youth through advocacy, leadership and social justice tools in a culturally appropriate setting.

Open Doors for Multicultural Families


Open Doors for Multicultural Families will create a new middle and elementary school-age program for 20 youth with disabilities from Kent, Auburn, and SeaTac. Program activities target a set of social-communication goals as well as physical health outcomes.

Vietnamese Friendship Association


The Vietnamese Friendship Association will recruit more middle school youth to participate in Project RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Student Empowerment). Project RISE prioritizes holistic youth development, academic support, job training and family engagement services using culturally and linguistically appropriate strategies to mitigate systemic inequities for refugee and immigrant youth.

Walk Away City Collaborative


Using the Hip Hop 2 Prevent Substance Abuse and HIV Curriculum to encourage youth to make healthy life style choices, Walk Away City Collaborative will engage, and provide incentives for 20 youth at Middle School University to take part in a pathway prevention education program, with both afterschool and summer offerings.

WAPI Community Services


WAPI's LevelUp Youth is a 10-week substance abuse prevention program empowering young leaders through music, arts and education while providing a safe and drug-free environment. The program will be expanded to reach more youth at two middle and elementary schools in Federal Way.


Place-Based Partnership Grantees

Model Description

Each partnership will collectively serve an average of 50-150 elementary and/or middle school youth daily for at least 4 days/week afterschool and for at least 6 weeks in the summer

Applicant Name

Funded Amount (over 3 years)


Bellevue School District with:


The Bellevue School District will partner with the Boys and Girls Club, Parks & Community Services, KidsQuest Children’s Museum and the YMCA of Bellevue to provide 195 unduplicated students experiencing homelessness with enriching summer and year-round programming. Program offerings will include cooking, horse care, climbing, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics), animatronics and circuitry.

City of Renton- Recreation and Neighborhoods Division (lead)


The City of Renton (Recreation & Neighborhoods Division) will partner with Centro Rendu of St. Vincent de Paul and Techbridge Girls to provide high quality afterschool and summer programming to 61 youth per day at the Highlands Neighborhood Center located in the Sunset Area. Youth from Highlands Elementary and McKnight Middle School will take part in culturally appropriate programming, developing academic and life skills in a safe and healthy (physically and emotionally) environment.

Kent Youth and Family Services with:


Kent Youth & Family Services will partner with Somali Youth and Family Club, Coalition for Refugees in Burma and the YMCA of Greater Seattle to serve youth at the Birch Creek Youth Center in Kent. Elementary and middle school aged youth will receive academic supports, recreation, life skills training, social emotional and enrichment programming; including cultural arts, peace circles, language, farming, technology and cooking.

Neighborhood House with:


Neighborhood House will partner with Dick Scobee Elementary and Cascade Middle Schools to provide afterschool and summer programming to 320 children and youth, annually, living in and around the KCHA subsidized housing communities of Burndale Homes and Firwood Circle in Auburn. Youth will engage in project-based learning, positive social/emotional development, mentoring, academic tutoring and literacy activities.

Seattle Parks and Recreation with:


Seattle Parks and Recreation will partner with Seattle Public Schools, STEMPaths Innovation Network, and University Tutors for Seattle Schools to serve 90 youth per day at Northgate Elementary School, with the goal of improving students’ performance in school courses and on state assessments. Youth will receive programming afterschool and through the summer focused on reading and math intervention, STEM, and reading & writing enrichment.

Somali Youth and Family Club with:


Somali Youth and Family Club, Techbridge Girls and Urban Family Center Association will partner to provide afterschool and summer programming to 80 youth, daily, living in the Creston Point Apartments in the unincorporated community of Skyway. In a safe and culturally appropriate environment, youth will engage in high quality academic supports, physical activity, Girls STEM programming, refugee support, and cultural enrichment programming.

Southwest Youth and Family Services with:


Southwest Youth and Family Services’ New Futures Program will partner with Arts Corps, and Geeking Out Kids of Color (GOKiC) to create access and eliminate barriers in White Center, SeaTac and Burien Housing Authority sites for 129 youth daily. With the goal of increasing math and literacy, developing technological skills, and building confidence, elementary and middle school students will engage in academic enrichment, arts education and technology programming, both afterschool and during the summer.

Grant Application & Review Process Overview

To ensure information about this funding opportunity was accessible we held 4 in-person informational sessions throughout the county. A recorded webinar of this information was also made available for potential applicants on SOWA’s website. Additionally, as a support to interested applicants, we partnered with Youth Development Executives of King County (YDEKC) to host 4 community workshops focused on program design and partnership development. Finally, 6 consultants provided technical support to organizations who requested assistance with the application process.

Proposals were read and evaluated by a review committee of 22 people. The review process was extensive, involving six small group and one large group review meetings. The final award recommendations were reviewed and determined in partnership with Best Starts for Kids and King County Department of Community & Health Services leadership. A more detailed overview of the review process is also available for additional information.

Learn More About Review Process

King County OST Landscape Scan

In September 2017, School’s Out Washington released the ‘King County Out-of-School Time Landscape Scan’, which was prepared by BERK Consulting with funding from Road Map Region Race to the Top, Puget Sound Educational Service District. The first of its kind for King County, this report illustrates what we know about current supply and gaps in OST programs, barriers to access and system needs to support access to high quality OST programs, as well as current funding sources for OST programs in King County. The Scan includes a full report as well as an online mapping tool that prospective applicants may find helpful in articulating needs and gaps their programs are designed to address. This tool was made available to utilize as a resource in preparing applications for the Quality Out-of-School Time investment and to understand where gaps in services currently exist.

Download King County Out-of-School Time Landscape Scan Full Report

View King Co. OST Mapping Tool


For questions on the Best Starts for Kids Quality Out-of-School Time Investment, please contact Omana Imani at oimani@schoolsoutwashington.org.