Category Archives: Education

Looking to Help Others in Your Community this Summer?

Boy ReadingVolunteer with FamilyWorks at the Wallingford Boys & Girls Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays from July 2nd to August 20th in our Reading Buddies program and re-visit those books you loved as a child. Our goal is to support and encourage the love of reading and to help children retain reading comprehension skills over the summer vacation. Be a one-on-one reading buddy for children aged 6-12 years and join with us from 4:00-5:00 p.m. to read, listen, and play fun games. Volunteers must be 16 or older.

For more information contact Sarah at saraht@familyworksseattle.org or call 206-694-6849.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, FamilyWorks Staff & Volunteers, FamilyWorks' Community

Franklin HS Woodshop Keeps Food Bank on the Move

 By Virginia Eader, MSW Intern

Students brainstorming with Woodshop teacher, Mike Lawson, on how to complete the carts for the food bank. “It brought a lot of us together,” described Senior Michael Raglin-Johnsen. “We had to communicate and work as a team.”

 In 2010 Family Works collected over 522 tons of food through the generous support of the local Wallingford and Seattle community. FamilyWork’s dedicated staff and volunteers work hard to ensure that all of the food is carefully sorted, organized, refrigerated, and made ready to distribute to eager customers throughout each week.

As with most food banks, storage capacity and mobility of food can be quite challenging. When Sanjay Rao, food bank volunteer and FamilyWorks board member, first began working in the food bank he witnessed the heavy moving and shifting of the 300-400 pound stacked crates of food. “There’s got to be a better way,” he thought.

 Staff and volunteers began brainstorming ways to improve the mobility of food. After researching costly solutions and testing out three hand-made prototypes, it was decided that a simply designed wood frame with swivel wheels could be a hopeful solution. To help with building the carts, the project became a great community service opportunity for a group willing to help out. Thirteen students from Franklin High School’s Woodshop class, one of the few Woodshop programs left in Seattle, stepped up to the challenge.

 Mike Lawson, who has been teaching Woodshop at Franklin for the past 16 years, was excited to get his students involved with the project. “It’s a big world out there and I want students to see that they can have a part in it,” Lawson said. This is the third community service project the class has done this semester.

Franklin Woodshop student proudly holds two completed carts. "It's not everyday that students have the opportunity to go from a concept to a finished product," said Teacher, Mike Lawson.

 Food bank volunteers pooled together to get the necessary supplies for students to make the carts. Just over a week after the materials were delivered, students had all 25 carts complete.

 Reflecting on the project, Junior Angela Ma says, “It was very fun. Like an assembly line, everyone put in effort to help make each cart.”

 The building of the carts required that the students use a combination of skills including math, reading, following detailed directions, precision cutting and drilling, as well as a great deal of collaborative problem solving and communication.

 Lawson described the learning process, “It was pretty cool watching [the students]. You could really see their gears turning. In this class every kid has a chance to be a rock star. They don’t necessarily have that chance in other parts of their life.”

 Many students expressed excitement about helping the food bank through their class work.

 “It’s nice to be able to put something to use. We can go out in the community and say ‘oh wow’ I made this’,” Senior Maddy Williams said.     Junior Jonathan Chac agreed, “It felt good because it’s not just for a grade. I’m actually helping people.”

FamilyWorks volunteers Sanjay Rao and David Tate testing the new carts in the food bank. "Honestly, I feel really good about this project," Sanjay explained. "All it takes is to bring people together and they'll help each other out."

 The students are hoping to be able take a field trip to FamilyWorks to see their hard work in action. Some students even expressed the desire to volunteer after school. In the mean time, the carts will help keep thousands of pounds of nutritious food moving more efficiently throughout the food bank each week. The benefits of this collaborative project will help to better serve the individuals and families who need it most.

2 Comments

Filed under Education, FamilyWorks News, Food Bank

Harlem Children’s Zone’s Geoffrey Canada Visits Seattle to Inspire

Geoffrey Canada, founder of Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) in New York City, is taking the nation by storm. His simple and straightforward message is that he will do “whatever it takes” to serve his community’s children and families. On February 9th, 2010, Mr. Canada came to the University of Washington to instill hope and motivate others to replicate his efforts. It is not hard to see success in similar programs in Seattle—FamilyWorks, for example, offers community programs that nurture, empower, and strengthen individuals and families from birth to adulthood.

Support at HCZ starts at birth, with parenting classes offered for expectant parents and those with children up to three years of age. It continues into preschool, where students are adequately prepared to enter kindergarten by participating in a program that teaches English, Spanish and French.

HCZ runs two charter schools for elementary school students: Promise Academy I and II. “Since their creation in 2004 and 2005, Promise Academy I and II elementary schools have done well enough to lead Harvard economist Roland Fryer to conclude that the students had actually closed the black-white achievement gap. The schools have a longer school day and year, and feature wide-ranging, enriching after-school programs. In 2009, the third-graders from both schools were 100 percent on or above grade level in the state-wide math program. At PA1 the third-graders were 94 percent on or above grade level in English Language Arts, while the third-graders at PAII were at 86 percent.” Students who do not attend these charter schools can still take part in Peacemakers, a program run by HCZ that “trains young people who are committed to making their neighborhoods safe for children and families.”

Of course, it doesn’t stop there: HCZ offers programs for middle and high school students that educate, coach, and nurture. This project pushes students to achieve by giving them the skills they need to succeed. They offer job training and community involvement, college prep and arts coaching. “197 students were accepted into college for the 2009-2010 year, representing 90% of HCZ high-school seniors.”

If you want to be truly inspired, check out the HCZ website for more information on what an impact this project has on families and children of NYC. Then, get involved! Be a part of this great movement—one that believes in the future and is committed to providing the best for children in its community here and now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advocacy, Education