Back to school with Best Starts: School supplies for the whole child

As parents look for last minute supplies and students pack up their backpacks to head back to school this week, we’re thinking about what educators, school staff, students, and families will be bringing to school this year as we work together to make sure school is safe, supportive, respectful, and engaging for everyone. In honor of the start of the school year, we created a Best Starts for Kids back to school packing list.

“This is just what young people in North Bend needed”: Celebrating the Trail Youth Coffee House

The Trail Youth Coffee House is open for business! One of 32 Best Starts for Kids Youth Development awardees, the Trail Youth built the coffee house in partnership with Best Starts for Kids to create a safe place for young people in the North Bend area to spend time, be themselves, and connect with supportive adults in the community. Thanks to a surprise feature on the show “Returning the Favor” and community participation, the space was remodeled in just two weeks! Best Starts staff were excited to join the Trail Youth in their Grand Opening Celebration earlier this week. This post is full of feel–good inspiration!

“Our voices matter”: A students’ reflection from the 2018 Civil Rights Pilgrimage

As part of our youth leadership blog series, Best Starts is bringing you a reflection from Isaac Sotelo–a Kentwood High School senior and student leader with our partner Institute for Community Leadership. Isaac marched alongside civil rights leaders and members of Congress at the 2018 Faith and Politics Institute Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Isaac met with organizers who directly participated in major events that helped create the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as they visited historic sites from the Civil Rights Movement. In his own words, Isaac inspires us with what he learned.

Our youth are speaking, and we need to listen

In the aftermath of such tragic loss in Parkland last week, we are witnessing our youth teach us how to be leaders—we need to watch and learn.  We are witnessing our youth organize—we need to join them. We are witnessing our youth raise their voices to be heard over the politics of adults—we need to amplify it.

Expanding services at school-based health centers to meet student needs

Best Starts for Kids is partnering to expand services at 15 existing school-based health centers to meet emerging needs for mental health care, substance use prevention, and health care services. We’re thrilled to announce new awards to 7 community-based service providers to make medical staff more available to students, coordinate care with school staff and parents, and add needed services like substance use screening and treatment.