Youth to lead 11th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. march on Jan. 16

Teens brave the weather during the 2014 MLK march.

Teens brave the weather during the 2014 MLK march.

Event flyerSeattle Parks and Recreation invites the public to join a youth-organized march to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, Jan. 16. Participants will gather at 11 a.m. at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park, 2200 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, 98144. Teens will lead the march to Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave. S, 98118.

This is Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Teen Program’s 11th annual youth march. Teens from throughout the city will speak out against injustice via a peaceful demonstration. The goal for the march is to celebrate the contributions Seattle youth make in creating a better city and to honor the work that youth do to keep Dr. King’s dream alive every day. [Read more…]

Seattle Parks and Recreation sends three athletes to national cross country competition

Cross country boys

Seattle Parks and Recreation cross country participants. Photo submitted by Eric Linxweiler

On Saturday, Dec. 12, three young men represented Seattle Parks and Recreation in the national cross country championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico! Though the weather was cold and wet, all three boys finished strong competing in a pool of 227.

Boden, Whit and William started practicing with High Point Community Center’s cross country program this fall. The 7- and 8-year-old boys placed second or third in all of their meets this year, including the Western Washington region of USA Track and Field’s Junior Olympics and the regional competition where they faced challengers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. [Read more…]

Summer Drills and Skills program schools 90+ youth

Summer Drills and Skills participants at Bitter Lake Community Center

Summer Drills and Skills participants at Bitter Lake Community Center

Bitter Lake Community Center teamed up with the Aaron Brooks Foundation again this summer to serve more than 90 youth between the ages of 8-19 in the Drills and Skills program. The Drills and Skills program connects with students’ recreational interests while also engaging them in structured, curriculum-based activities to gain successful life skills.  It empowers youth to become successful citizens by providing a safe, nurturing environment where they will develop their academic, social and leadership skills.

Summer Drills and Skills participants at Bitter Lake Community Center

Drills and Skills is also offered at Bitter Lake Community Center for free during the school year (Mondays from 3-7 p.m.), historically serving upwards of 50 youth.  This fall, the program will also expand to four new sites, Garfield, Yesler, Rainier Beach, and Van Asselt community centers. To register, visit

Summer Drills and Skills participants at Bitter Lake Community Center


Summer Drills and Skills participants at Bitter Lake Community Center

Summer Drills and Skills participants at Bitter Lake Community Center

Seattle teens take second in international digital media awards

An image from Seattle teens' winning video collaboration "A Questions is."

An image from Seattle teens’ winning video collaboration “The Questions is.”

Teens at Delridge and Rainier community centers received second place in an international digital media competition as part of the 2015 Adobe Youth Voices awards.

Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) empowers students to develop digital media skills to inspire change in their communities. AYV is a global program that has about 250,000 participating youth from 60 countries. Adobe provides students with access to audio/visual software and mentoring and collaboration opportunities. [Read more…]

Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd leads free basketball clinic for 60+ youth

More than 60 girls participate in a free basketball clinic led by Seattle Storm

More than 60 girls participated in a free basketball clinic led by Seattle Storm on April 18.

Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd with clinic participants at Jefferson Community Center.

Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd with clinic participants at Jefferson Community Center.

On Saturday, April 18, Seattle Storm’s Jewell Loyd, the first pick in the 2015 WNBA draft, led a free basketball clinic for 62 young girls at Jefferson Community Center.

Loyd was assisted by Storm staff and officers from the Seattle Police Department. Each participant was given a free t-shirt and two tickets to a Storm game at Key Arena.

Special thanks to Navreet Gill, Senior Community Service Manager of the Seattle Storm for organizing the clinic, Group Health Cooperative for providing shirts and tickets to a Storm game, the Seattle Police Department for their work with the participants and Jefferson Community Center staff.

Register today for the Fishing Kids event May 2

There are plenty of fish in the sea, and this May, there will be plenty of fish in Green Lake.

A previous Fishing Kids participant shows off his catch. Photo provided by C.A.S.T for Kids.

A previous Fishing Kids participant shows off his catch. Photo provided by C.A.S.T for Kids.

The Fishing Kids event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2. A net will be installed in the swim area by Green Lake’s Bathhouse Theater and stocked with trout. Kids from the community are invited to head to the shore and fish for 30 minutes (or until the child has caught two fish). There will be volunteers on-hand to help bait hooks, remove hooks, untangle lines and to clean the caught fish.

This event is designed to provide all children ages 5 – 14, with an opportunity to receive hands-on fishing lessons and to enjoy a quality outdoor recreational experience.

Before the event, there will be a brief water safety segment. Registration includes a free Zebco fishing rod and reel, t-shirt and trout recipes. This event is free and is sponsored by the Green Lake Chamber of Commerce and the support of a Neighborhood Matching Funds grant.

There will be five fishing time slots for the children: 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m.

To register, visit our SPARC registration page. Select the “Hobbies, Clubs & Lifestyles” category and choose “Fishing.” For event details, visit or the Green Lake Chamber of Commerce website.

Seattle Parks accepting applications for scholarship funding for youth programs

Seattle Parks and Recreation is increasing access to scholarships for teen programs with $40,000 from the 2015 Hope for Youth Fund.

$40,000 has been allocated for the 2015 Hope for Youth Fund to increase access to recreational and positive youth development activities by providing scholarships to youth and teens residing in the Seattle area.

2015 Hope For Youth Scholarship application

Proposals may be submitted by:
• An agency/organization that is a 501c3 serving youth ages 11 to 19
• Proposed activities/services to be funded must be completed  by December 31, 2015 [Read more…]

Performing arts program supports LGBTQ youth of color on Sept. 24

Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute invite the community to a mentor showcase for “Bearing Witness” on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 4 p.m., (doors open at 3:45 p.m.) Langston Hughes Performing Art Institute is located at 104 17th Ave. S at E Yesler Way in Seattle. The mentor showcase features performances from and an introduction to the mentoring team.

The showcase serves as an introduction to the fall session of Bearing Witness, a program for queer youth of color, friends and allies up to age 22 to express their authentic voice through dance, music, spoken word, and other performing arts to name, explore, express, and celebrate who they are as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) individuals, as People of Color, and as youth.

Youth involved with the Bearing Witness program participate in weekly sessions each Wednesday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, where they receive free mentoring from a team of performing arts professionals. The program culminates with a youth showcase performance on Dec. 17, for which the participants receive a $50 stipend.

The mission of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute (LHPAI) is to celebrate, nurture, present and preserve African American and Diaspora performing arts and cultural legacies, and to preserve the African American aesthetic. By pursuing its mission, LHPAI is an agent of systemic change by providing opportunities for Performing Artists of Color to present their authentic images and voice, to engage the rich artistic aesthetics of the African American and Diaspora legacies and by providing audiences of all colors the opportunity to experience and celebrate these artists and legacies. Please visit to learn more.

For more information, please contact Rodney Greene at 206-295-5218 or



Rainier Beach Youth come together to plan Othello Park Concert


Between July 31 and Sept. 4, 19 youth ranging in age from 11-17 met each Thursday at Rainier Beach Community Center to plan a community concert at Othello Park. The concert took place on Saturday, Sept. 6. The Othello Youth Concert was one program among many selected by Mayor Ed Murray’s office to address community concerns about public safety.1

Seattle Parks and Recreation program staff designed the program to meet essential youth developmental needs as well as to provide each participant with job-readiness skills and leadership development opportunities. While staff co-facilitated meetings and provided support, the youth participants made decisions about each facet of the concert’s design, including its themes of multi-culturalism, audience participation and fun. The youth were also responsible for promoting the concert, keeping its costs within their allotted budget and acting as emcees, stage managers, barbecue cooks, basketball coaches and performers on the day of the event.

Participants enjoyed celebrating after the concert and staff praised their efforts. Staff were proud of the participants for making difficult decisions about the concert performance lineup and food plan.

Because attendance remained consistent throughout the program, all participants were able to learn planning and organizing skills, practice team-building and communication and recruit their family, neighbors and peers to support their hard work. They translated this experience into a resume entry that they will be able to use in the future.

Participants also shared feedback through conversation and surveys. Many comments revealed how their experiences were challenging and beneficial.  For example, participants were challenged to communicate with people at different age levels and therefore were able to meet a new community of peers.

One participant commented that the program improved her self-confidence. “I felt really happy that I had actually planned a concert for the public — I felt proud of myself,” she wrote.

Participants received a stipend at the end of the program as part of their learning experience.

Belltown Community Center hosts Youth Pride Dance June 27

Seattle Pride celebrates the region’s LGBTQ rights movement and 2014 marks the festival’s 40th anniversary. So how does one celebrate such a landmark year? Hats – and the crazier the better.

The fourth annual Youth Pride Dance takes place Friday, June 27, 8 p.m., at Belltown Community Center (415 Bell Street). The dance provides the 21-and-under crowd the opportunity to participate in a celebration with their peers.

This year’s theme is crazy hats. Attendees can bring their own, borrow one at the event or join in a crazy hat-making party before the dance. Music will be played by DJ Puerto Roc and Regine Dynasty and Nubian Pride will serve as event emcees. There will be free portraits and dance photos taken on site and a makeup table by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the dance will take place from 8-11 p.m. Everyone 21 years old and younger is invited and the event is free.

Belltown Community Center has a capacity of 150 guests, so pre-register at or join the Facebook event here

This year’s event is sponsored by the Washington chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Nubian Pride, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Pride.

Email Christine Lyon at with questions.