June 12, 12:32 PM click here to comment > 0
Honoring those who have helped serve our community
I recently had the pleasure of honoring over 100 community members who are making a difference in the lives of Seattle’s youth and families. Each of them has become part of the solution by volunteering to help children achieve 3rd grade reading levels; support quality after school programs at the middle schools Community Learning Centers; or open their hearts as mentors and mentees. This is the spirit of Cities of Service and our Engage Seattle initiatives.
Seattle’s children and youth need caring, engaged and passionate adults to step up and into their lives. They can’t wait for things to get better. Unfortunately, these are challenging economic times and all of us, whether we are in government, non-profits, business or are community members, must work together in order to meet the most pressing needs facing our communities.
Last year I launched the Youth and Families Initiative. We met with over 3,000 members of the community in 131 meetings. What we learned was that we needed to do more to help our children succeed. We know that our children face an opportunity gap. We know that if a child is reading at grade level by 3rd grade; has a caring adult in their lives; has access to quality out-of-school time learning activities; has less than 10 absences per year, they are likely to graduate high school and be on track for success. Kids who are not doing well in these indicators are often lower income, children of color and immigrants or refugees. This is unacceptable.
That’s one reason I launched Engage Seattle last year, with a volunteer service plan to call community members to action and volunteer as reading tutors, mentors, and after school program volunteers. The data tells us this makes a big difference for children and youth. Volunteer service also contributes to our individual health and well being as well as the overall success of our community.
Across the country, mayors have joined the Cities of Service campaign to raise the profile of these specific and pressing needs in their cities, and call upon community members to take action through volunteer service. Here in Seattle, my Chief Service Officer Candace Inagi is reaching out to community members. She and Parks Superintendent Christopher Williams are reaching out to our own talented workforce to find 500 people willing to serve our city’s children and youth.
We are grateful for the work of our partners who work hard every day to maintain these volunteer opportunities at the 4C Coalition, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Seattle Cares Mentoring Movement, Seattle Parks & Recreation Department, Solid Ground’s WA Reading Corps, United Way of King County and YMCA. We are especially grateful to the passionate and committed elementary school principals who have supported our literacy initiative at Beacon Hill International, Dearborn Park, Emerson, and Sanislo. Thank you all for your service in support of children and youth across Seattle.
Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn