Neighborhood House: 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 Neighborhood House, funded as the lead organization of a Place-Based Partnership Grant.
Neighborhood House (NH) is the lead organization in a Place-Based Partnership in Auburn with Dick Scobee Elementary School and Cascade Middle School. They are also part of SOWA’s HELO network. They run out-of-school time programs, including three tutoring programs, for 170 to 200 K-12 students in low-income housing communities. Beyond homework help, they have a project-based structure to their academic enrichment programs. NH has a history of involvement with YPQ work, which informs these programs. Coordinators connect with families and build relationship with them individually, as in turn work with schools in order to develop effective strategies to support students. As NH offers birth to senior care, with lots of programming happening all the time, their youth development work is rooted in engaging whole families.
With the BSK OST investment NH is able to increase engagement with the outside community and create more robust programming, including getting materials for more and more exciting programming, and inviting other housing community members as well as youth outside of the housing communities involved in their offerings. They have been able to hire dedicated summer staff, which was previously challenging, which makes for more robust programming. The funds also support a stronger relationship and understanding with NH’s partner schools—instead of just a general sense of what the other entities are doing, there is now deep knowledge and collaboration.
NH now has more focus on intentionally engaging youth they’re trying to bring into their centers, made possible through their partnership with schools—their name goes out into Auburn schools and the general community. Dedicated summer staff members increase youth’s access to more positive adult role models, and young people are flourishing because of those relationships as a result of this one summer alone. BSK OST funds are strengthening the programs already in place, as well as expanding offerings. With transportation no longer a costly barrier, there are more opportunities to take field trips (which is especially important for low-income youth) which increases buy-in and engagement from youth.
SOWA’s supports provide an opportunity to be creative and figure out how best support young people in new and exciting ways, bringing more voices to the table. Some of those voices include other grantees, who share their thoughts and ideas and provide valuable perspective. SOWA convenings promote a sense of closeness in a very spread out county location, and remind NH that they’re not alone in this work. The region of the county another cohort member is serving may be different, but there’s a common language in YPQ and the focus on SEL skills. Our centering of SEL skills bring youth programs in line with what schools are doing, creating a streamlined cross-system intervention.
Place-Based funding model has been crucial in bolstering the partnership that NH has developed with Auburn schools. This initial year of the BSK OST grant is about launching a partnership, and NH is excited to see what it’ll grow into once everyone is aligned at the start of the school year. This collaboration promotes buy-in of the partners, and NH feels like there’s more equal representation in their work—each entity brings a different expertise and values learning from the others, ultimately benefiting the youth being served. The partnership is able to develop shared goals and the SEL PQA provides common language and techniques so there will as broad an impact as possible on the entire community.
NH programs have always been engaging for young people, and they’re now working to engage their broader community. Summer showcases have been more interactive, including a gaming expo at Burndale where kids created games and played them with attendees, and a community field day at Firwood Circle. So many kids playing outside was engaging for housing community members, who got curious and joined in on the fun. By strengthening their youth programs, NH is able to promote intergenerational relationships with everyone they serve.