Expanded Learning Youth Showcase and the Power of Magic  

Community partners with our Expanded Learning strategy hosted a Youth Showcase this past June to celebrate the creativity, relationships built, and accomplishments of kids in the program. Approximately 20 students attended the celebration to recognize and share each other’s work with family, friends, and community leaders.  

Hosted at the Southwest Boys and Girls Club of King County, the event was set up across several rooms for kids to celebrate, have fun, and share all the work they accomplished and skills they learned in their after-school and summer programs. Across the different rooms you could see everything from architectural models of neighborhood spaces the kids envisioned, to stop motion films created by students, to kids operating and programing Lego robotics, to kids sharing the objects they designed and created using a 3D printer. Kids and families danced together in the gym, watched a magic show, and gathered outside to show off their skills in the sport of double dutch. 

“The kids are really amazing,” says Isis Lara Fernandez, Expanded Learning Opportunities Director at Launch. “This showcase is an opportunity to bring everyone together to reflect and celebrate on the past year.” 

The partners offer a broad range of supports for kids and young people, and include Coyote Central, Double Dutch Divas, Launch and STEM Paths Innovation Network (SPIN). 

The Power of Magic

The Youth Showcase featured the power of magic and its ability to build community and connection and support self-expression. Ruben Barron is a performing and professional magician for nearly 30 years. He joined the celebration in his partnership with Coyote Central as a teaching artist since 2009.  

Ruben was pulled into the world of magic as a 10-year-old and has enjoyed it ever since. As a performer and teacher of magic, Ruben captures the attention of his audience by making the experience fun and engaging.  

“I teach kids magic because I want to make kids happy,” says Ruben.  

He teaches elementary and middle school students to perform magic and focuses on building on his students’ strengths. Ruben connects with and supports young people to feel confident and proud with what they’ve learned and prepares them to perform on stage.  

“Anyone can do magic, it’s great for all kids and it just takes practice,” says Ruben. “The best way to get better is to practice on stage!”  

To get a glimpse of this magical experience, the community can find Ruben and his students performing once a month at Magic Monday at Ravenna, an event held on the second Monday of every month at Third Place Books in the Ravenna neighborhood.  

Meet the Partners

Through our Expanded Learning strategy, Best Starts and School’s Out Washington (SOWA) partners with community-based organizations to provide after-school and summer programming for young people ages 5-13 who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and/or who are living in poverty. The Place-Based Collaborative program model consists of three or more organizations offering programming in under resourced areas focused in schools and housing communities. 

Expanded learning opportunities consists of academic support, cultural and social enrichment, physical activity and health promotion, visual and performing arts, tutoring and homework services, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities, and more.  

Read more about the organizations who make this work happen: 

Coyote Central  

Coyote Central provides creative classes to young people ages 10-15. Our mission is to spark creativity in young people, putting tools in their hands to build skills and forge their futures. We believe in accessibility and inclusivity, which is why our programs are designed with a “pay what works for you” approach, allowing families to contribute based on their budgets. Partner Programs provide Studio Coyote experiences for groups of kids from schools (public, private, or charter) as well as community-based organizations. Often during the daytime as part of their school curriculum, these Partner Programs expose students to creative classes that they wouldn’t otherwise experience. Most often held at our Central District location, Partner Programs include mediums like Welding, Woodworking, Cooking, Photography, Acting, and more. 

Double Dutch Divas 

Double Dutch Divas provides an exciting experience during our Double Dutch sessions. Double Dutch is a wonderful way to gain energetic cardio. Double Dutch enhances speed, balance and patience. As long as you can jump, you can Double Dutch. Double Dutch allows you to be part of a team, accomplish goals, helps burn calories and provides a full body workout in a short amount of time. The most of all its super fun. 

During our Double Dutch Divas sessions, community partners gather around with the interest in learning something that they’ve never tried before or doing something that they haven’t done in a long time. Double Dutch brings unity into the community. It’s a momentary achievement that brings happiness within as well as the community that is watching. The ending result is the coaches are proud, the audience are super excited, and the participants are gaining a self-esteem boost and moments of joy. 


Launch is a Seattle-based nonprofit with more than 46 years of experience providing effective, affordable preschool, afterschool enrichment, summer expanded learning opportunity programs, and parent/caregiver education, support, and resource referral. We serve 800 children ages 0-12 annually — foundational years when our social, emotional and academic support help launch young lives on a trajectory of success. Formerly named Community Day School Association (CDSA), Launch was founded in 1977 by a group of families who wanted a nurturing, high-quality after school environment for their children. Today we serve as a proven model of effective programming and a passionate advocate for children, families and communities. 

STEM Paths Innovation Network (SPIN)  

SPIN offers high-quality STEM+Arts classes and programs to students who most lack access in the King County area. Our programming exposes students to STEM fields and careers they may never have learned about otherwise. Our curricula are designed to spark students’ curiosity and excitement about STEM subjects, instilling them with a passion for STEM that stays with them through the rest of their lives.

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