(The Center Square) – East African Community Services uses grants and donations to expand education for first-generation students in King County.
The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning on May 31 announced $1 million for 19 organizations focused on summer programs for children. EACS was one of four organizations to receive a maximum of $75,000 provided by Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy. The FEPP is a seven-year tax for young people in Seattle that was approved by voters in November 2018. The total amount provided by the tax is $619 million over seven years.
“With this investment, the City of Seattle is partnering with community organizations who are doing great work supporting our children with mentorship, art and enrichment experiences to keep them engaged in their learning and excited for life. idea of the next step in their educational journey on their way. to college and careers,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said in a statement.
EACS will use the $75,000 for its upcoming summer program in which participants will spend six hours a day learning through various activities. Jawaahir Omar, director of programs at EACS, told The Center Square that the organization expects this year’s program to be strong.
“Currently we have about 115 students right now [between EACS’ locations in Seattle and SeaTac] and we have a waiting list of around 65 families,” Omar said. “So summer camp is going to be one of the biggest we’ve had so far.”
Established in 2001, EACS has seen students grow alongside the curriculum. Omar said around 70% of EACS families have been there since the start. About three-quarters of the families have immigrant parents, and the students are first-generation Americans. Omar also estimated that around 95% of students come from low-income households.
EACS contribution and grants nearly doubled between 2019 and 2020, the latest year for which the date is available. In 2019, contributions and grants amounted to $671,746 for a total income of $874,996. In 2020, EACS contributions and grants reached $1,983,822 with total income of $2,022,051. Omar says the budget increase is for two types of expansion.
“We have a lot more students and we are expanding the programs,” Omar said in response to the question of why the budget has increased.
With more students, there are now more opportunities to expand programs with a larger budget. “More ideas are coming to the table. We have the budget for that, so we’re just expanding the programs,” Omar said. “We’ve always had the mentoring program for girls, ‘Young Men Lead’ [the new boys mentorship program] is something we added and because we have the budget now, we also have a whole sports section.
Mentorship programs bring a variety of African American professionals to share details about themselves and their work to show EACS students the career opportunities they can pursue.
DEEL is focusing its grants more on behavioral health and recovery for students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has limited resources for families and students. Schools and community organizations like EACS have attempted to meet the social, emotional and academic needs of students. Omar said EACS began implementing mental and behavioral health programs in its rotation earlier this year.