Poverty

Housing Insecurity/unsheltered/homeless, Low Income, Poverty, Students of Color, Trauma

Communities in Schools of Seattle

Two students working on a project.

Why is the group you chose to research important?

I chose this group because I myself am a student of color and I think it is important for us to recognize who we are and that we have a lot more power than what it may seem. I know many people who doubt their own abilities just because of where they are from, and there should be no doubts about this. This organization has the resources to give us that opportunity and to give us the chance to find our abilities. Since many kids do not graduate high school, this organization is important in that their goal is to make sure those kids do graduate and have the confidence to further their careers.

Brief history of the organization and its purpose.

The Communities In Schools Seattle states their purpose in their equity statement. They say it is to support students of color in their communities by providing them with resources and opportunities. They also recognize what is needed by the community and eliminate social/historical barriers. They say 1 on 4 students fail to graduate on time in Washington, and they are partnering up with public schools to help address this. The parent organization, which is just Communities In Washington, has a goal of giving the youth control in the classroom and a quality education by addressing inequalities in the education system.

Whom do they serve?

They serve the children and youth of Seattle, and the parent one areas of Washington. By giving kids across the region access to resources, they can help those kids with adult-problems such as homelessness, racism, trauma, and more. They help those youth in various situations whom need the educational assistance. Kids who are at risk of dropping out, that is who they help majority of the time as well.

Programs offered?

There is no area where they list their programs, but there is a page of how one could help. Besides publicizing the organization and donations, people can help organize their own Communities In Schools in one’s community. They are also looking for people to fill their board of directors. They also have live and virtual fundraisers.

Besides what other people can do, they offer services to those in school who have adult problems like homelessness, low income, and others who are at risk of not meeting their graduation quotas.

What could they do better?

They could definitely offer more programs to the community. This is an area they are definitely lacking in, and since they are an organization that branches out to specific regions, having region-specific programs to the community would be extremely beneficial and inviting. I do worry about the intentions of the organization, but they do have a list of all the schools they work with and it is a pretty comprehensive list. They have a success stories page, but it only has three stories. I would expect that an organization would manage more, but any success story is good.

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

There was a lot of information that was accessible. The financial information is relatively transparent, and when one goes to the donation form, there is a list of amounts of donations attached with the purpose of it. They seem to be in a great need of sponsorships, probably to get their word out and not for any ill intentions. They publicly list their tax ID presumably to get their tax information. It is good that they are not trying to hide that information, but openly giving it. It is also easy to see the list of employees and the board of directors. I even saw students of the University of Washington on the board, which makes the organization even more trustworthy. The website looks very professional and does not have any formatting mistakes.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

One organization I found was Washington STEM. They are a nonprofit organization that also has a goal in providing better education and to remove historical barriers. They say they envision our state as one where no matter where someone comes from, it does not influence or predict their career.

Another educational organization I found was Northwest Education Access. Their mission is to help low-income students and to give them financial support in their educational careers.

Using: https://wordpress.org/openverse/?referrer=creativecommons.org

Image from: https://live.staticflickr.com/8458/8049800812_ff4566e58e_b.jpg

Poverty

It’s more than just a backpack

Why I chose to research this non-profit

This blog post will focus on students living in poverty. I will speak about the ‘Kids in Need Foundation’, in particular, the ‘It’s more than just a backpack fund’. In deciding to write about students in poverty, I was solely motivated by my own experience with poverty. Growing up, my sister and I lived on couches, in basements of family members, and in motels. My mother tried to provide for us by taking any odd job that came her way, waited in lines at food banks to ensure we were fed while trying to call 211 (A Washington state federal resource line) to see if she could receive any help. Even though I sometimes didn’t know where I was heading to sleep that night, my mother never made me feel panicked or unsafe. The security and love she provided to me prevented me from ever worrying about my safety.  

Even though back-to-school shopping is expensive yet necessary, people with stables incomes might not think to prioritize the cost. In contrast, poverty-stricken families think about school supplies as the lowest-priority necessity when there are other pressing expenses such as utilities, groceries, and rent. In the end, pencils and books are more of a want than a need in the eyes of individuals who need to make sure their family is taken care of first. Based on this, I made my decision to look at an organization that provides students with free school supplies.

Brief history of the educational organization, whom they serve, and programs offered

In addition to being a non-profit organization, It’s more than just a backpack supports students and families that cannot afford school supplies or can only access them on a limited basis. In their message, they say, “Education is a gateway to opportunity, and students cannot achieve their full potential without it.” Their point is that without consistent school supplies, students’ educations will not be fulfilled to their full potential. This program not only provides school supplies to children but additionally to teachers. Upon request, people can donate a semester’s worth of school supplies to teachers so that if a child does not have the correct supplies, the teachers will have them on hand to distribute.

School supplies through Second Responders who, after the first responders finish making sure everyone is safe swoops in to help teachers and students who have been affected by natural disasters to make the process of returning to school as easy as ever. Being able to distribute school supplies is not the only resource the organization offers. In addition, curriculum, classroom, and personal development sponsors by the ETED are offered by community support.  

What they can do better

The organization It’s more than just a backpack is a wonderful way to get kids more involved in their education. However, the organization could contribute a little more help with supporting kids by offering access to food. For example, the organization could consider providing snacks or drinks that come with the established supplies. Since some kids’ only meal could be school lunch, a backpack full of food can be beneficial not only to the students but to the families.    

Accessible information and organizations doing similar work

Those who want to volunteer or explore the website can navigate through the various tabs at the top of the page. You can easily contact the administration if you wish to participate in volunteer work or if you prefer to volunteer from the comfort of your own home. When you click on any of the options, there is no third-party tab. You would be directed to your own email if you clicked on contacting them, with their email address included.

The organization is reliable due to the multitude of organizations that have sponsored them such as Scholastic, Toyota, 3M, along others. In addition, the organization is promoted by local news outlets such as ABC 5 and CNN Other non-profits, such as the YWCA in Snohomish County, provide similar services to Its more than just a backpack. Such as filling up a school bus full of back-to-school supplies and clothes for low-income students who cannot afford to buy their own. 

Image Credit: 10 back-to-school items that might not be on your list. Childtime Learning Centers. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2022, from https://www.childtime.com/blog/2018/08/10-back-to-school-items-that-might-not-be-on-your-list/

Housing Insecurity/unsheltered/homeless, Nutrition, Poverty

Teen Feed

Why is the group that I chose to research important?

I chose to research teens that are facing homelessness as I feel that they are often overlooked. This is not something only adults can experience, but teenagers as well. They can face homelessness from a young age and are unable to have access to proper resources. They are at an age where they are growing and learning. Lack of proper nutrition and adequate basic needs is extremely detrimental to them. This is especially prevalent in the Seattle area. Teenagers that experience homelessness may feel embarrassed because of the stigma that comes with being homeless, and may be afraid to seek help.

Brief history of the educational organization that I have researched along with the purpose of the organization?

The organization originated as a result of the University of Washington Medical Center nurses working to help feed hungry youth. This was in 1987 when they noticed the abundance of young homeless teens around the area. They then began to work with the community to provide food for these youth.

Whom do they serve?

Teen Feed works to help homeless youth by providing them with basic needs such as food, assisting them in being aware of their healthcare options, and building relationships/connections with them among others. At their core, they are setting the foundations for help teens to get back on their feet and look ahead for a brighter future. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Teen Feed has connected with over 900 individuals, provided over 20,000 meals, and accumulated over $750,000 of donated items such as food. They primarily work in the University District of Seattle, as well as the South King County and Auburn areas. For the past two years, the organization has completely community funded through donations.

Programs offered?

Teen Feed offers multiple programs. The Meal Program allows youth to receive hot meals every night at various meal sites. This meal program is active seven days a week, 365 days a year, allowing youth to have access to at least one a meal a day, every day. The Street Talk Outreach Program Program (STOP) provides an opportunity for youth on the streets to connect with adults, in an environment where they are most comfortable. This allows youth to building a working relationship with adults and even offers employment experience. The Youth Access to Care (YAC) program works to assist youth in getting healthcare access. They bring awareness to the healthcare options that youth have.

What could they do better?

I think Teen Feed has done a very good job of explaining their organization and programs on their website. They are very clear on their website and provide thorough information on everything they cover.

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

Information about the organization is very accessible. Teen Feed appears to be extremely transparent and does not show any red flags. The website is neatly organized and has sections for their programs which explains in detail the how the programs are constructed. They also have an opportunities for volunteer work listed on their website as well. There are so many different roles that you can volunteer for to help troubled youth, ranging from preparing the meals in the kitchen, to being a nutrition guide, to actively helping youth on the streets one-on-on. Teen Feed also has a section on facts about homeless youth to bring awareness.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

Other organizations that are doing similar work are Ryan’s House for Youth and YouthCare. Both organizations specialize in helping youth that are in need of help and nurturing them.

Resources

All information provided in blog post and image header.

Teen Feed. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2022, from https://teenfeed.org/

First-Generation Students, Housing Insecurity/unsheltered/homeless, Low Income, Poverty, Students of Color

United Way of King County

Why is the group I chose to research important?

I chose to investigate a group of students from low-income backgrounds who are first-generation because as a student who grew up low-income and who is a first-generation college student, I understand how difficult it is to navigate through school without the proper support that one needs. High-income students have the privilege of easily accessing educational opportunities; from specialized educational programs and private tutors to not having to worry about water leaking through the ceiling on rainy days while trying to focus on homework. Low-income students, however, don’t have these educational opportunities easily available to them, which makes life and school extremely challenging. Students who are English language learners and struggling to make ends meet also find it difficult to navigate through the path to graduation and pursue higher education without resources.

Brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization?

United Way of King County, a non-profit organization in the Seattle area is shown to be important for its service to others. They are committed to tackling racial inequities, homelessness, low income, and food insecurity that students and families face. Not only do they provide basic needs and essentials but also offer free educational services ranging from pre-k to higher education for youth who are primarily first-generation, low-income, and/or students of color so they can pursue an education without barriers stacked against them. So with the help of the United Way of King County team, volunteers, community partners, and generous donors and sponsors, this non-profit can bridge the gap between vulnerable communities and community support systems.

United Way of King County first started as the Seattle Community Fund in 1921, which involved “43 separate fundraising efforts among the city’s health and welfare agencies” (United Way of King County Celebrates Centennial, 2021, para. 2). As the organization continued to assist with challenges and further expanded, it was then named United Good Neighbors in 1952. In the year 1972, United Good Neighbors fused with another organization called United Way of America to become what we know today as United Way of King County; an organization that was founded on responding to community needs, especially the needs of the most vulnerable. Their mission statement is “to bring caring people together to give, volunteer, and take action to help people in need and solve our community’s toughest challenges” (United Way of King County, About Us Section). In other words, the purpose is to promote racial equity while fighting homelessness and food insecurity. As well as helping students graduate, and breaking the cycle of poverty for many in King County.

Whom do they serve?

United Way of King County serves communities that include but is not limited to students and people of low income, students and people of color, people experiencing poverty or homelessness, and families that need meal assistance. They guide individuals, families, and students to resources that help pave the path to brand-new opportunities.

Programs offered?

There are various programs offered such as the ParentChild+ program, which helps families better prepare their children for kindergarten by providing 2 and 3-year-olds a coach of the same cultural background and language. The Reconnecting Youth program focuses on high school youth as they graduate through 1:1 mentoring, educational coaching, and providing resources to help students navigate careers of interest. Another educational program is Bridge to Finish, which helps college students complete their education through housing and financial supports, as well as food assistance.

Other programs not relating to schooling are programs that center on fighting homelessness such as Home Base and Streets to Home. As well as the Fuel Your Future, which focuses on providing food for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and a Free Tax Preparation program for those in poverty. United Way of King County also provides rental assistance and various food resources.

What could they do better?

Many low-income and struggling households don’t have access to the internet which can create barriers for them to access vital programs and resources that are widely available on the web, so I think the United Way of King County can do better at spreading more awareness about this organization to those who don’t easily have access to the information provided on their website. Also, the search bar on the website only shows results for articles, instead of programs of interest. It would make the process easier for others if programs were included in the search bar results.

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

Information about the programs and services was very accessible. Despite it being overwhelming at first glance because of the various links and information on the first page, I was still able to find the information I needed. The organization also went in-depth about what the programs offer.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

Other nonprofit organizations that are also serving the community through educational youth programs, and financial and basic need assistance are El Centro de La Raza and Multi-Service Center.

El Centro de La Raza is a Latino-driven organization in Seattle, WA that centers on building a unified community that fights against poverty and discrimination of any kind. They promote equity and justice for the most vulnerable through bilingual resources that include but are not limited to child & youth programs, human & emergency services, and education & asset-building programs.

The Multi-Service Center is another organization that centers on connecting vulnerable communities, especially impoverished communities in South King County to individualized support and resources; from housing & rental assistance, and food & clothing banks to education and employment assistance.

References

Shopify Partners. (n.d.). Grad Student Celebrating Diploma Up In Sun Photo [Photograph]. Burst. https://burst.shopify.com/photos/grad-student-celebrating-diploma-up-in-sun?q=helping+students

United Way of King County. (2021, December 29). United Way of King County Celebrates Centennial. https://www.uwkc.org/breaking-the-cycle-of-poverty-news/united-way-of-king-county-celebrates-centennial/

United Way of King County. (n.d.). About Us. https://www.uwkc.org/about-us/

United Way of King County. (n.d.). https://www.uwkc.org/

Curriculum that is Culturally Relevant for the 21st century, Disabilities, Low Income, Poverty, Students of Color

A DIVE IN TO STAND FOR CHILDREN WASHINGTON:

The “Stand for Children Washington” is a non-profit education advocacy organization that focuses on ensuring that all students receive a high quality, relevant education, especially those whose boundless potential is overlooked and under-tapped because of their skin color, zip code, first language, or disability.

The Stand for Children Organization logo. Three adults, shaded in blue, are standing behind a child, shaded in white, with her hand raised. "Stand for Children" is written out in white letters to the right of them.
http://stand.org/

Why is this organization important?

Stand for Children Washington is an essential organization here, in Washington State. Without them, many children wouldn’t have the access and funds needed to succeed and grow as a student. Although Washington ranks first in State economy, we also rank twenty-two in Education Spending per student, and forty-two in high school graduation rates. Stand for Children Washington ensures that students who are susceptible to an opportunity gap (kids of color and/or kids from low-income families) get the same chance at succeeding in their education, which ultimately will lead to a successful future!

History of Stand for Children:

The Stand for Children organization first came to be in 1996. Jonah Edelman, the founder of Stand for Children, coordinated a founding rally in Washington D.C. that was attended by over 300,000 people! The Washington chapter of the organization started in 2007 with the goal of redefining basic education in the state of Washington. Because of their work, Washington’s Basic Education has improved tremendously, now offering increased instruction hours, enhanced requirements for graduating high school, increased funding towards transportation, and greater funding towards kindergarten!

Whom does Stand for Children serve?

As mentioned previously, Stand for Children Washington serves children who are susceptible to opportunity gaps such as children of color, children with disabilities, children from low-income families, foster children, etc. No child deserves to have less of an opportunity academically speaking, therefore Stand for Children Washington is committed to supporting policies that improve the outcome for students and ensuring that policies are implemented in the classroom setting. 

People marching at a "Stand for Children" rally in 1996. There are lots of adults and children present. The people at the front of the rally are holding a banner that says, "Stand for Children."
https://twitter.com/stand4children/status/1134802089060818947

Programs Offered:

When I was diving through Stand for Children’s website, I wasn’t able to find any “programs” that were offered. However, I was able to find careers that are listed. For people wanting to join the Stand for Children team there’s an “open positions” tab. As of right now there are only two positions available. An Organizer for the Indianapolis branch, and a 9th Grade Success Coach for the Memphis branch.

What Could Stand for Children do Better:

Critics of Stand for Children have stated that the organization represents business interests. Diane Ravitch, an education policy analyst, criticizes the organization for opposing teacher’s unions and seeking to impose standardized testing for public schools. More information about Stand for Children criticism can be found online, however not on their website.

Was information about the organization accessible?

I found it fairly easy to find information on the Stand for Children’s website. This blog post is a brief summary of the information based on their work in Washington State, however the website offers insight into national information as well. Their webpage is easy to navigate, as they have a lot of other links within to click on that grabs the reader’s attention. The only downside to their website is that they don’t have a section that addresses the criticism Stand for Children may have received, or a way to see what others have commented about the organization.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

Organizations that have similar ideologies and intentions as Stand for Children include Alliance for Education, Coalition for Community Schools, and League of Education. More information about these organizations and other non-profits can be found at https://www.seattle.gov/education/for-parents/other-resources-for-families!

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