In many ways, Seattle fulfills plenty of the stereotypes it's known for nationally: it's a politically progressive hotbed where delicious coffee flows like water and rainy days are here to stay! But there's much more to this place than waterproof jackets and gluten-free desserts. People who take the time to explore the Emerald City soon find that the Seattle community is incredibly diverse, vibrant, and strongly committed to youth empowerment and education. Best of all, Seattle is a major hub for AmeriCorps programs of all kinds, and serving in this city grants you automatic entry into a fun, welcoming network of service members from all across the country.
Read Right is a literacy program used in many different states across the US. The program utilizes a combination of reading out loud and independently, listening to books on tape, participating in group critical thinking exercises, and a variety of tailored writing exercises once a week. In Seattle, Garfield High School incorporates Read Right in order to serve their incredibly diverse population of students. The literacy program uses a tested methodology to improve reading comprehension and fluency for students. Garfield High School, located in Seattle’s historical Central District, supports the success of all of their students, and they believe reading comprehension is a key factor to academic success.
Notre Dame AmeriCorps members with the Read Right program at Garfield High School serve as reading coaches in a classroom with a certified teacher. The members receive training in the rigorous Read Right curriculum, and they implement that curriculum with small groups of students throughout the school year. Members serve approximately four students per class period for up to five class periods, and they provide small group reading support, perform comprehension checks, engage with classroom management, and build personal relationships with students. Members also assist with after-school tutoring in a variety of subjects and have opportunities to take on additional projects.
El Centro de la Raza
El Centro de la Raza is a voice and a hub for Seattle’s Latino community as it advocates on behalf of our people and work to achieve social justice. Through its comprehensive programs and services, El Centro empowers members of the Latino community as fully participating members of society. NDA members serve with El Centro's College Readiness Program at the high school and middle school level. El Centro partners with several schools in Seattle (currently Chief Sealth High School, Ballard High School, and Denny Middle School) in order to ensure the success of the College Readiness Program. Members serve in the high school classrooms several days a week, coaching Latino youth through the college preparation process, assisting students with everything from basic college applications, financial aid paperwork, and scholarship research. Members also serve at El Centro's office during the week, managing a case load of specific students and making themselves available to the community. Members typically serve at Denny Middle School about once a month, leading presentations about different college opportunities.
Powerful Voices (PV) fosters adolescent girls' development by providing programs and promoting social justice so girls can realize their dreams, engage their communities and shape a better world. Since 1995, Powerful Voices has been improving the lives of girls in Seattle through innovative evidence-based programs in public middle schools, the juvenile justice system, through employment readiness programs, and case management. PV measures success by the changes created in girls lives as they work toward a vision of Girl Justice, where girls and their community come together to advocate for justice and equity. As a social justice organization, they believe that success begins by living out our values of safety, diversity, justice, innovation and integrity in all of the work that they do. Recognizing the impact of economic, racial and gender disparities, their work centers on supporting girls most impacted by institutional oppression. As a result, they reach out to young women of color, ages 12-18, who are living in low-income households.
One NDA member with Powerful Voices will assist in facilitating school-based groups at Asa Mercer and Denny International Middle Schools and a community-based summer program called Girls Rising for girls ages 12-14. The member will meet with each school-based group at least once a week, in addition to planning monthly individual check-ins with the youth. During the summer, the member will help recruit for the Girls Rising program and then help in leading the program, meeting with the group twice a week. All of these programs are highly focused on promoting positive girl culture and allowing the youth to take on leadership opportunities.
Another NDA member will assist with job readiness programs for high school girls. The member will focus on meeting critical employment readiness and paid experience needs by facilitating group-based training in public speaking, project management, teamwork, and communication. Each program will culminate in girl-led projects such as an employment readiness portfolio, workshops at Powerful Voices’ Girlvolution Conference, or the production of a print/online Zine. These programs are also highly focused on promoting positive girl culture and enabling youth to develop employable, concrete skills.
Seattle Education Access
Seattle Education Access (SEA) provides higher education advocacy and opportunity to young people struggling to overcome poverty and adversity throughout King County. Seattle Education Access strives to connect non-traditional students with the information and financial resources to help them achieve their dreams of a college education; to provide financial support that helps low-income youth access higher education and meet their housing and basic survival needs while in school; to provide the personal attention, mentoring, technical assistance, and moral support that marginalized youth need to navigate the complex systems of higher education and financial aid; and to empower young people living in poverty to develop their own voices and succeed in the higher academic arena.
NDA members with SEA will support students in preparing for community college. Members will support youth seeking to prepare for the GED or COMPASS (community college entrance exam) by performing new student intakes to assess skills and learning styles, providing on-going, individual tutoring, and tracking outcomes and gains. Members will also provide support in high school completion courses or in college courses, assisting students with class material. Additionally, members will support ESL students through tutoring and classroom assistance. The NDA members will each be primarily based at one or two different community colleges around Seattle, depending on the needs of the participants.
Youth Employment & Service Learning (YES)
Youth Employment and Service Learning through Seattle Parks and Recreation focuses on providing hands-on experiences for youth that will allow them to develop well-rounded skills, especially in terms of job readiness.
One NDA member spearheads three programs focusing on education through service projects and employment preparation: Teen Intern Program (TIP), Civil Justice Corps (CJC) and the Student Teen Employment Preparation (STEP) program. TIP pairs teens with local non-profit organizations in job shadowing and community mentoring opportunities. CJC is a vocational training program for youth and young adults who are homeless or are in transitional living situations. This program will partner with other community based organizations to develop job experiences that will help participants gain work skills, strengthen their resume and provide workforce preparedness training. STEP is a summer-long program that teaches job readiness skills to teens through urban environmental restoration projects as well as addressing other community needs.
The NDA member will help maintain and create new partnerships with various organizations; develop, revise, and implement curriculum for the programs; work with schools and youth groups to develop service learning projects during the school year; help support two youth oriented career fairs; and coordinate job readiness workshops for youth.
The Able Teens Program (TAT)
Another fantastic program of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, Able Teens offers collaborative vocational training activities for students with and without disabilities by utilizing the service learning method.
One NDA member will oversee an after school program that operates daily for teens with special needs, while working closely with community based organizations to develop volunteer experiences that will support the employable skill development and incorporate training and social experiences. In addition to incorporating local volunteers to support the TAT program, the member will coordinate monthly family meetings so parents can share ideas for other types of volunteer work or skill development goals and to provide resources that will be helpful to TAT students and their families. By the end of the service term, this NDA member will have significantly increased access to substantive service and educational opportunities for countless students with special needs.
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