The school year for Seattle public schools began on Wednesday, September 4th. While kiddos across town may have mixed feelings with the warm weather still belying summer and freedom, the anticipation for seeing friends and checking out their new classes is palpable. For parents, there is the requisite trip (or evening of online shopping) for fresh school clothes and school supplies. Here in King County we are reminded that this is not always a given nor an easy or fun experience for the many children and teens who live in emergency shelters, transitional or supportive housing.
This year, Weber Thompson participated in YWCA’s School Days program which distributes backpacks to children without stable housing in King County for the new school year. As a separate but related program, they will also match you with a specific student; providing their size, age and favorite color so that volunteers can shop for a first day of school outfit, including shoes and a warm outer layer. The YWCA makes it easy by providing a detailed list of items that would be appropriate depending on the age of the child or teen. It was truly rewarding to see the assemblage of pens, highlighters, notebooks, flash drives, calculators, warm socks, t-shirts, jeans, kicks and the occasional Seahawks beanie (not on the list) and know that 100% of it goes to kids in need.
As it was succinctly put by a colleague “Let’s do all that we can to help them focus on learning and playing.” The program wraps up in the third week of August every year but if you want to bookmark it for next year, the link is here.
Nicole Winn AIA, LEED AP, FitWel Ambassador is a Principal at Weber Thompson. She works in the firm’s high-rise studio and is passionate about affordable housing, equity and social justice. She’s worked at the firm for over 20 years.