Empowering Men of Color in Seattle

build startBrothers United in Leadership Development (B.U.I.L.D.) is a Citywide Youth & Teen Program dedicated to increasing civic engagement and leadership opportunities for Men of Color, particularly Black and Latino. The program provides support and mentoring to help men of color navigate systems, develop community partnerships and strengthen their sense of power. Ultimately, B.U.I.L.D.’s mission is to develop leaders who can affect real change in our community.

For the past two years, this Seattle Parks and Recreation-supported program has helped organize community events and host workshops with local schools, nonprofits and businesses. B.U.I.L.D. also offers a young men’s group at two of our Teen Life Centers.


BUILD group photo at BOOM

B.U.I.L.D. hosted an interactive workshop for young men of color at the Boom Experience, an all-day event designed for male students who identify as African, Black, Latino, Native American or a mix of any, who are in grades 7-12 in the Bellevue School District. The Boom Experience provided an opportunity for students to connect, be inspired and find support, and to be led and taught by men who racially identify like them. Students spent the day learning and engaging in discussions around race, culture, leadership and self-empowerment. B.U.I.L.D. members shared resources and stories with the young men about their personal experiences working and participating in the Parks and Recreation profession, and also highlighted Seattle Parks and Recreation offerings that focus on supporting youth of color, including our Teen Summer Musical program, our Teen Life Centers, and our Youth Engaged in Service Learning program.

BUILD the HOOD Softball Event

BUILD Softball event winnersB.U.I.L.D. hosted a resource fair and softball game at South Park Playfield. More than 150 community members attended the event, including a large number of Black men and their families, as well as many Latino families. The resource fair provided voter registration information, on-site free HIV testing, information on City of Seattle employment opportunities, and more. Following the resource fair, B.U.I.L.D. organized a fun and friendly softball game with four teams consisting mostly of “Opportunity Youth”—defined as young people ages 16-24 who are not engaged in work or school.

BUILD the HOOD Community EventBUILD the HOOD 8.9.15 South vr WestB.U.I.L.D. hosted a large-scale community event at Rainier Playfield in Southeast Seattle for at-risk youth, adults and their families from South, West and Central Seattle. More than 500 community members enjoyed the event, which included a barbecue, basketball game, resource fair, and kid-friendly activities, including face painting and arts-and-crafts. Leading up to the event, B.U.I.L.D. members conducted street outreach with active gang members to encourage them to attend and help plan the event. In doing so, B.U.I.L.D. helped put those young men into a positive leadership role within their community, empowering them to step away from negative choices and towards more positive choices to build their community.

BUILD Documentary Viewing

BUILD viewing 13th panelB.U.I.L.D., along with several community partners, helped host a community viewing of the documentary 13th at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. More than 150 community members attended and watched the documentary, which looks at the impact mass incarceration has had on communities of color. After the viewing, members from Southwest Teen Life Center’s Young Men’s Group and Black Student Unions helped facilitate a community discussion, which included a panel made up of community members who are working to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, and/or who have been impacted directly by mass incarceration.

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Seattle Parks and Recreation Presidents’ Day Closures

Many Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities will be closed Monday, Feb. 20, in observance of Presidents’ Day.

These facilities and services are CLOSED:

  • Community centers
  • Environmental learning centers
  • Indoor swimming pools
  • Green Lake Small Craft Center
  • Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center

These facilities are OPEN on regular schedules:

  • Boat ramps
  • Interbay, Jackson Park, Jefferson Park and West Seattle golf courses
  • Amy Yee Tennis Center
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Seattle Parks and Recreation invites community to review schematic design of Smith Cove Park

Seattle Parks and Recreation invites the community to participate in the Smith Cove Park project on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Magnolia Community Center, 2550 34th Ave. W. This meeting is an opportunity to learn about the project and provide input on the schematic design for Seattle’s new waterfront park. Smith Cove Park is located just west of Pier 91 at the foot of Magnolia Hill on Elliott Bay at 1451 23rd Ave.

 This project will develop the 4.9-acre easterly waterfront property (east of 23rd Ave. W) and make improvements to the westerly property which is the playfield at Smith Cove Park (west of 23rd Ave. W). The expanded park will provide opportunities for active and passive recreation for all ages and abilities, increase environmental sensitivity, and make the park inviting and usable for more people. Improvements to enhance the playability of the field used for youth sports will also be made to the existing playfield at Smith Cove Park. Thank you to everyone who participated in the first meeting. We encourage you to attend this meeting and see how your input has helped shape the design.

 In early 2016, Seattle Parks and Recreation hired GGN as the design consultant. GGN and Seattle Parks and Recreation will use the outreach and concept completed by the Friends of Smith Cove Park (FoSCP) in 2015 as the starting point for the design of the park. 

 For more information on the park and the project, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/smith-cove-park-development or contact David Graves, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 684-7048 or david.graves@seattle.gov.


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Get Moving program helps Seattle residents burn more than 3,000,000 calories!

Our Get Moving program, funded by the Seattle Park District, works to increase participation and opportunities for physical activities, prioritizing neighborhoods where health disparities are prevalent.

Get Moving provides grants to programs that provide free, culturally relevant programming to reach historically underserved populations. As part of the 2016 grant cycle, 14 programs received funding to provide both exercise opportunities and a connection to a cultural practice at locations across Seattle.

Before the start of the program, 21% of surveyed Get Moving participants reported low or no physical exercise. After joining, 75% of participants reported they would continue to exercise after the Get Moving program.

Get Moving awardees have:

  • Provided more than 600 hours of scheduled programming.
  • Had more than 3,500 people attended a class or activity.
  • Helped Seattle residents burn more than 3,000,000 calories (more than 850 pounds!).

Father and Sons Together


Father and Sons Together (FAST) is a Get Moving grantee whose participants are largely people of color (88% Black; 6% Asian; 3% Hispanic). FAST provides positive and safe activities for Fathers/Sons in Southeast Seattle. This program seeks to help strengthen the Father/Son relationship, replace hopelessness with hope and inspire leadership through recreation activities. FAST has served more than 300 people and has hosted several community events, including a Fishing Day of Play, Empowerment Baseball Camp, Walk for Change & Family Day of Play, Overnight Camp at Camp Long, and Empowerment Basketball Camp.

“Some of the challenge courses, wall climb, and the rock climbing challenges were difficult but I didn’t give up. I kept going because of the encouragement my father along with all of the other fathers/sons were giving me. I learned that I am never alone.” Donald, a youth participant.

Lao Women Association of Washington


The Lao Women Association of Washington has held eight Get Moving-funded classes, teaching a variety of dance styles to community members including traditional Lao dance, Zumba and Cha Cha. The Association helps participants increase physical activity and mental well-being. Lao dance helps to boost mood and energy, reduce stress and increases self-image and confidence. Several participants reported weight loss attributed to this Get Moving-supported program, and 100% of program participants reported that they were “very satisfied” with the program.

Young Women Empowered


Through the Get Moving program, Young Women Empowered served a small but diverse group of people (44% Black; 12% African; 16% Hispanic; 8% Filipino; 8% Multiethnic). This group provided dance classes to more than 50 girls and women ages 12 to 50+. Young Women Empowered hosted eight dance classes, enabling participants to move creatively and joyfully. The program also helped to ignite participants’ passion for dance while exploring the rich cultures of the African Diaspora. Participants reported the lowest levels of pre-program exercise out of all the Get Moving grantees. Only 23% of participants reported exercising once a week or less before the beginning of the program.


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Seattle Parks and Recreation to host free soccer clinics with Seattle Sounders FC’s RAVE Foundation

21518856229_a849c4944c_zSeattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) will host two free soccer clinics at Yesler Community Center with the Seattle Sounders FC’s RAVE Foundation. Youth ages 8 to 14 are encouraged to come out and enjoy the free futsal clinics on Friday, January 27 or Friday, February 24. Both clinics will be held at Yesler Community Center (917 E Yesler Way) from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Futsal is a variation of soccer played on a hard court smaller than a traditional outdoor soccer field.

Group sessions will be divided by age, 8 to 11 and 12 to 14. We are looking for 40 participants in each age group session. Please stop by or call the Yesler Community Center at 206-386-1245 to register.


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Seattle Parks and Recreation continues work on Burke-Gilman Trail in northeast Seattle

Jan. 23, 2017 UPDATE: Seattle Parks and Recreation continues to clear debrisburke work

Seattle Parks and Recreation(SPR) will continue work to clean up debris and provide ditch maintenance at two landslide sites along sections of the Burke-Gilman Trail between NE 125th St. and NE 135th St. in northeast Seattle.  The heavy rain has filled the ditches and requires attention.

To accommodate commuters, SPR will start work after the morning commute and end work prior to the evening commute. Crews will be on-site from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily starting Tuesday, Jan. 24 until work is complete. We anticipate the project will be complete on Thursday afternoon.

Trail users will experience a reduced pedestrian lane.  For safety, cyclists will be required to dismount and walk their bicycles past the work area. SPR will provide flaggers at the project site.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and patience during this maintenance project.

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Community encouraged to provide input on 2017 Development Plan, Gap Analysis and Long-term Acquisition Strategies and learn about upcoming improvements for Brighton Playfield

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) invites the community to provide input on SPR’s 2017 Development Plan, Gap Analysis and Long-term Acquisition strategies for open space on Saturday, Feb 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at The Royal Room (5000 Rainier Ave. S) during a Housing Affordability and Livability (HALA) Open House.

This open house is being held in conjunction with other City departments and provides an opportunity for the community to learn about SPR’s walkability mapping and to give input on priorities for long-term open space acquisition goals. SPR will also present the schematic design for the Brighton Playfield renovation project.

The 2017 Development Plan is a 6-year plan that documents and describes SPR facilities and lands, looks at Seattle’s changing demographics, and lays out a vision for the future. A goal in the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan is to consider access to our parks by transit, bicycle, and on foot when acquiring, siting and designing new park facilities or improving existing ones. SPR manages approximately 11% of the City’s land area, and is proposing a new mapping approach based upon walkability to inform the City’s long-term acquisition strategies for future open space.

For more information on other Housing Affordability and Livability(HALA) community events and to see which City departments will be attending, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/hala/calendar.

For more information about our development plan please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/policies-and-plans/2017-development-plan or contact Susanne Rockwell, Project Manager at Susanne.rockwell@seattle.govor 206-684-7133, or 2017DevPlan@seattle.gov

For more information about Brighton Playfield renovation please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/brighton-playfield-renovation or contact Jay Rood, Project Manager at jay.rood@seattle.gov or 206-733-9194.

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New Greenwood/Phinney park project update and community review

Seattle Parks and Recreation presents schematic design and acquires demolition permit

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) invites the community to review the design for the new Greenwood/Phinney park on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 at the Greenwood Senior Center (525 N. 85th St.). Please join SPR’s staff and Cascade Design Collaborative designer team from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to learn about the project and provide feedback on the design.

The design elements include natural play elements, an open lawn, a gathering/ plaza space with seating, a loop path, and planted areas. The project also includes low-impact design strategies featuring amended soils, porous concrete, and increased infiltration created by the new open space. Street improvements as well as a raised crosswalk connecting the Greenwood branch library to the park are proposed and will provide better community connections. All of these elements were identified by the community during the design phase of this project. Families, neighbors, and the Phinney/Greenwood community are encouraged to attend this upcoming meeting.

SPR purchased two property sites between N 81st and N 82nd on the east side of Greenwood to develop a park (the mini-mart site purchased in Nov. 2012 and the pub property immediately north, which was purchased in July 2015). The two buildings will be demolished in mid to late March. SPR anticipates demolition to be complete by the end of May 2017.

The Seattle Park District funds the development of the south parcel to provide the Greenwood/Phinney urban area access to open space. Design and public input will be completed for both the north and south parcels to create a seamless design. Current budget estimates allow us to get the loop pathway and plantings into both parcels, however, not all features can be accommodated in this phase.

The Seattle Park District provided the funding to develop 14 SPR-owned sites around Seattle. Approved by Seattle voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.

If you need an interpreter or accommodations for this meeting, please contact Katie Bang, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at 206-684-9286 or Katie.bang@seattle.gov.

For more information about the project please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/greenwood-phinney-park-development.

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Seattle Parks and Recreation focuses on inclusiveness and equity

13631451_10154265792878567_7123805924094841341_nSeattle Parks and Recreation is committed to utilizing Seattle’s parks and community centers to promote and sustain racial equity in our city. At Seattle Parks and Recreation, we know that access to outdoor space and community center activities are vital ways to keep communities healthy, strong, and supported. Yet in our city we know that these resources are not distributed equally to all Seattle residents. With an increasingly diverse Seattle, we work to make sure our programs and services are available to everyone by focusing on the following:

Investing in Youth of Color:


  • SPR Community Learning Centers combat summer learning loss with 5+ week summer academic and enrichment programming for students who are at risk of falling behind or failing courses, many of whom are students of color. In 2016, the program served more than 900 students with all students meeting their academic performance goals.
  • Our Summer Food and Expanded Recreation Program offers free lunches and free drop-in activities to youth during the summer months. Programming helps ensure that vulnerable youth have access to healthy meals during the summer. In 2016, together with the United Way, we served over 40,000 meals at over 20 sites across the city.
  • Our Trails Program engages youth of color through the public schools’ service learning program in maintaining and restoring Seattle’s park trails.
  • O2, the Outdoor Opportunities program, is an outdoor expedition program designed to expose youth of color (ages 14-19) to environmental education, urban conservation, and stewardship.
  • SPR partners to annually put on the teen summer musical. This year, 88 young people enjoyed a nine-week theatrical journey full acting, song, dance and discovery through this program which is geared toward youth of color.

Reducing barriers to access:


  • SPR wants all of Seattle’s residents to have access to recreation, and provides Scholarships to individuals and families for our programs and activities. We have processed 5,167 scholarships for the June 2016-June 2017 cycle.
  • Beginning January 2017, we have eliminated fees for most drop-in activities, including Tot Gyms, Fitness Rooms, Basketball, and many others.
  • We are extending hours at community centers in underserved neighborhoods to see how we can reduce barriers to utilizing our facilities and services. Community centers with expanded hours include International District/Chinatown, Magnuson, Miller, South Park, Yesler and Van Asselt community centers.

Culturally relevant programming:


  • Our Food and Fitness program, funded in part by the Seattle Park District, provides opportunities for older adults to congregate and celebrate their culture and language through weekly gatherings that include a communal lunch and a social, educational and fitness component. We currently offer an East African and a Vietnamese meetup.
  • We offer Women’s Single Gender Swims at three of our eight indoor pools for women who, for cultural, personal or religious reasons, choose not to swim in a co-ed environment.
  • SPR’s Get Moving and Recreation for All programs fund culturally relevant physical and enrichment programming to under resourced communities and in neighborhoods where health disparities are prevalent.
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Friends of Piper’s Orchard to host apple wassailing and pruning work party

20550987630_2966e7cd40_kThe Friends of Piper’s Orchard and Seattle Parks and Recreation invite the community in celebrating Carkeek Park’s historic orchard on Saturday, February 4 for a wassailing and pruning work party. Wassail is a beverage originally made from mulled ale, apples, nuts, spices and curdled cream. Today’s version is usually eggnog or spiced cider. Historians have traced the wassail tradition back as far as the 8th century, and some look on it as the last revel of the holiday season.

This free event will feature hot apple cider and treats. The event will also feature the Sound and Fury Morris & Sword Dancers. Morris dancing is a traditional form of English folk dance accompanied by music; dancers often wear bells tied to their knees. For more information on Sound and Fury Morris & Sword, please go to http://soundandfurymorris.com/.

The Friends of Piper’s Orchard is a group of dedicated volunteers who rescued the historic North Seattle orchard from invasive plants. The volunteers ensure that the orchard, originally planted in the 1890s, will survive at least another 100 years.

This event is sponsored by Friends of Piper’s Orchard, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Carkeek Park Advisory Council. For more information, please go to www.pipersorchard.org or email pipersorchard@gmail.com.

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