In our 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, we committed to centering the voices of our youth, families, and alumni to provide successful programming. One key opportunity identified by the Friends–Seattle community is to refine our programming for post-secondary preparedness. Our goal is to provide necessary support along the way for our youth to achieve post-secondary outcomes.
Last May, we held a panel featuring alumni, a program caregiver, and community members who are working to increase post-secondary access for youth. Our panelists emphasized exposing youth to a variety of educational and career paths, helping them learn soft skills, and most importantly, listening to youth as they develop their own interests.
“What I have learned is I have to listen,” reflected one of our program caregivers, whose youth is currently in high school. “I had to understand that [my youth] could still be successful in whatever he chooses, whether he goes to a post-secondary [institution], whether he does technical, vocational...We must hear each other out and work together.”
TJ is attending South Seattle College and running a dog training business. “[I] have been doing pre-mediation training programs and going back to my old high school to help students better prepare for the next level college-wise and life-wise,” he said. “Friends of the Children [and] my mentor helped me in so many ways [and] pushed me to push past my limits...they treated me as family. It was so heartwarming and helped to know I got great people in my corner to catch me when I fall.”
Chance is proud to be living independently and attending Eastern Washington University, where he is majoring in Theater.
Chance said that his mentor, Richmond, provided “different simulated life experiences, modeling and conversations on what life is really like out here. [Richmond is still] following up and staying a part of my life to this day, staying available to chat, guide and stay [connected].”
Lawrence will be attending South College starting in the winter quarter, and is currently working part-time. “[Friends of the Children–Seattle] provided work experiences and other opportunities that I would’ve never received, otherwise,” he said.
Damarion is a full-time student attending Huston-Tillotson University, majoring in Education. “Getting a full ride scholarship to college is my proudest achievement,” he said.
“[My mentor] Richmond put us out there and gave us examples of what it’s like when you have to figure out a solution on your own,” said Damarion. “You have to weigh the options, choose your path and work your tail off to make it. When you mess up, you have to face it head on, and get back to work."