This school year may be winding down, but our efforts to give children and young people the opportunities they need to be happy, healthy, and thriving are just getting started. We know that kids don’t stop learning at the end of the school day. Access to opportunities to learn and grow after the bell rings are an important part of our work to put every child in King County on the path to success.
That’s why we’re proud to announce our partnership with School’s Out Washington (SOWA) to create more opportunities for children and young people to flourish outside of the school day. For years, SOWA has worked closely with community partners like Youth Development Executives of King County and Center for Community Education Results to create an out of school time system that supports healthy development for all children and youth in King County.
Best Starts and SOWA will work together to ensure that high-quality after school and summer programs are available so that all King County children and young people have the learning opportunities they deserve to thrive.
“Out of school time programs are uniquely positioned to contribute to Best Starts’ mission to improve the health and well-being of children and youth,” said SOWA CEO Elizabeth Whitford. “Our partnership with Best Starts meets SOWA’s mission to assure that all young people have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential, regardless of race or income.”
More opportunities, better opportunities from Best Starts for Kids & SOWA
All parents want what’s best for their kids, but many families face structural and financial barriers to accessing out of school learning opportunities. Between before and after school programs, and summer learning opportunities, these extra learning hours add up and contribute to the achievement gap between students with limited financial resources and their more affluent peers. Together, Best Starts and SOWA will expand before, after school, weekend, and summer learning and enrichment opportunities, with a focus on improving the quality and quantity of programs throughout King County.
“Equal opportunities to explore and grow outside of the school day help kids establish a foundation for lifelong learning and well-being,” said Best Starts 5-24 Policy and Program Manager Megan McJennett. “SOWA’s expertise will ensure that Best Starts funding creates high-quality learning opportunities for all King County kids.”
Out-of-school time programs complement classroom instruction by building lifelong skills, improving academic performance, and inspiring young people to discover their passions. SOWA will work with community stakeholders across the County to shape how Best Starts funding will improve out-of-school time programs in King County. Later this summer, SOWA will release a funding opportunity to create more out of school time programs, and support existing programs to improve quality. Read more about SOWA’s work and engagement with community partners on their website: www.schoolsoutwashington.org
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