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.

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