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July 2012

Help spread the word: free summer meals for kids 

Dannette R. Smith


For a number of Seattle families struggling to make ends meet, HSD's Summer Food Service Program may be the only source of nutritious food a child will receive all day.


The program got under way for the summer in the last week in June. Thousands of Seattle children ages 1 through 18 will enjoy free, nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks at approximately 100 sites across the city through Friday, Aug. 24.


But the program is still undSFSPer-utilized. "Many people know about the free school lunch program but not about this great free meals program for kids and teens during the summer months," said Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith at last month's kick-off event at Jefferson Community Center.

The Summer Food Service Program, formerly known as Summer Sack Lunch, is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was established in 1968. The City of Seattle has operated this program in Seattle since the early 1970s.

So tell your neighbors, friends, family members, and co-workers about this great free program at a location near you. We want young people in Seattle to have a fun, safe and healthy summer, and it all starts with good nutrition.

For more information and to find a site in your neighborhood, please visit this Web page

Dannette R. Smith
Director, Seattle Human Services Department



Helping teen parents

Curn DomingoThe bulletin boards in Curn Domingo's office in Southwest Youth & Family Services (SWYFS) are covered with photographs - birth announcements, graduations, holiday cards, parents with babies in their arms. The photos attest to lives changed for the better and achievement that can't fully be measured.


Domingo helps coordinate the Teen Parent Program in the Family Center at SWYFS. The program provides teenaged parents, mostly 16- and 17-year-old girls, with an innovative combination of parenting skills, academic support for General Educational Development (GED) coursework, and connection to comprehensive support services.


"When teens come here they get more of their needs met," says Domingo, who provides one-on-one assistance and advocacy, helping teen parents with everything from where to buy inexpensive diapers to applying for public benefits to finding permanent housing. The program runs for three hours a day, four days a week. Child care is provided.


Two other Seattle Family Centers offer teen parent support, including the Rainier Beach Family Center and the North Seattle Family Center. All teen parent programs provide weekly support groups on parenting skills, parent-child activities and information and referral services.


Pregnancy and motherhood at a young age often present unique challenges to teenage parents. These challenges include remaining in school and improving academic achievement, keeping their children in good health, providing a safe and secure environment for themselves and for their children, and providing for their basic needs.


For more information about family centers, visit this Web site. For more information about Southwest Youth & Family Center go to this site

Teens gain skills for new economy
Crystal and Meenakshi
Crystal McQueen and her HSD supervisor Meenakshi Vedantham

The days of walking into a business and hoping to get a job with a firm handshake or simple enthusiasm are long gone. Especially for teens.

Eighteen Seattle young people from the Human Services Department's (HSD's) Seattle Youth Employment Program recently completed a four-month internship program that provided them with the skills and experience they need to better compete in the new economy.

Among them was Crystal McQueen, a Franklin High School junior, who completed her internship with HSD's Human Resources Unit. Working 10 hours a week, Crystal used her computer and office skills to great effect. In a short span of time, she learned to compile Excel spreadsheets, transfer policies into new templates, and design an intranet Web page on ergonomics.

"This internship experience will help me meet my future goals because I learned the value and importance of being persistent and being ready to do more than one task at a time," says Crystal. "These are some of the most important skills you need on a job." 

The pilot internship program was developed, with financial assistance from the Workforce Development Council, by HSD, the Office of Economic Development, and the City Personnel department. The project improved on earlier internships by targeting skill development in growth occupations, like pre-engineering and business technology. Ranging in age from 16 to 19, the youth worked in 12 City departments.     

$2.4 million in Levy funds awarded to 9 community preschools

Mayor Mike McGinn and the Seattle Human Services Department recenStep Ahead logotly announced the awarding of $2.4 million to the nine community agencies to provide Step Ahead preschool services to low-income three- and four-year old children and their families in Seattle. The funding was awarded through a competitive Request for Investment (RFI) process. Applications for the RFI were issued in March 2012. Sixteen agencies applied of which nine were selected for funding.

The Step Ahead preschool program provides one or two years of preschool for three- and four-year-old children from low-income families. The preschool program is designed to help low-income children and their families succeed in school and in life. Families with incomes ranging from 110%-300% percent of the federal poverty level and living in Seattle qualify for the program.

For more information, please see this news release

Homeless services Investment Plan & RFI released
The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) released the final Communities Supporting Safe & Stable Housing Investment Plan on June 27, 2012. At the same time the department issued a Request for Investment (RFI) that is related to the plan. The plan was revised based on comments HSD received during a three-week public comment period in May.

The purpose of the plan is to fundamentally improve the City of Seattle's ability to prevent and end homelessness, while maintaining its commitment to providing safe and accessible shelters and supportive services for people who need them. The strategy is to create a set of priorities and principles and then make certain that City resources support those priorities. For a copy of the plan and background information, please visit HSD's Initiatives Web page. For a copy of the RFI, please visit the Funding Web page.
Northgate Elementary School reads!
The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) is one of several City agencies participating in Northgate Reads, a six-week summer reading and enrichment program that began on June 25 at Northgate Elementary School.Boy with blocks

The City Budget Office has been partnering with HSD, the Office for Education, the Seattle Public Library, Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Northgate Elementary School to develop the program. Because a child's ability to read by third grade is a key indicator of high school graduation, the program focuses on third-grade reading achievement.

This summer, incoming 2nd and 3rd grade students will receive reading instruction and enrichment from Monday through Wednesday. On Thursdays they will be joined by their parents, who will learn how to support their student readers at home. Parents and children will also take community field trips related to reading topics for the week.

HSD is providing child care for participating families on Thursdays and breakfast and lunch through our Summer Food Service Program.

For more information, please see this brochure.
Support for caregivers
If you routinely bring food to a family member, drive them to appointments, help them with chores, pay their bills, or run errands for them, than you are a FCSP logocaregiver and may be under a lot of stress. Fortunately, caregiver support - coaching, counseling and more - is available through the King County Caregiver Support Network. For more information, please visit this Web site.

Over the past decade, federal and state governments have helped caregivers by funding family caregiver support programs. HSD's Aging & Disability Services (ADS) administers those funds in King County through the Family Caregiver Support Program. ADS has received recent increases in state funding (nearly $1 million in 2011 and $500,000 in July 2012) on the theory that the state will save money on the Medicaid program by helping seniors and disabled people remain at home and independent and out of institutions as long as possible.

The program is currently underutilized. ADS-funded services reach about 2,300 caregivers per year. This is less than 5% of the County's primary caregivers.
Upward Bound graduates celebrate
Congratulations to Upward Bound graduates! Among their accomplishments:
UB graduates 2012*    All 15 of our Upward Bound seniors graduated from high school
*    All graduates seniors will enroll in post-secondary education: 6 to U.W., 1 U.W. Tacoma, 3 South Seattle Community College, 2 to WSU, 1 to Bellevue College, 1 to Oregon State University, and 1 to Agnes Scott in Georgia.  
*    Nine of 15 received one or more scholarships to support their college goals.

For more information about Upward Bound, which prepares high school students for higher education, please visit this Web page.
ADS featured in community paper
The Human Services Department's Aging & Disability Services (ADS) was recently featured in an article in City Living community newspaper. Division director Jesse Eller spoke about ADS' role as the local Area Agency on Aging and the focus on supporting seniors and people with disabilities living at home.

HSD Director Report at City Council
Human Services Department (HSD) Director Dannette R. Smith and Deputy Director Catherine Lester presented HSD's Director Report to the City Council's Housing, Human Services, Health & Culture Committee on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. Go to 28:18 in this video tape. The report highlighted several key department programs and initiatives.
Free health services available at KeyArena fair
Next 50 Health Fair
10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday, July 15
next 50 logo
Next 50 Health Fair, part of Global Health Month, offers a variety of FREE health services and information. No insurance or appointments are necessary. Area clinics and hospitals will provide the following:  dental services, diabetes and cholesterol screenings, vision and hearing exams, mammograms, blood testing, physical examinations, nutrition and general health information - and more!

Next 50 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair with six months of activities, events and attractions at Seattle Center.

Learn more at this Web site or call 206 684-7200.

HSD logo

Life Lines is published monthly by the City of Seattle's Human Service Department. Our mission is to connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work and take part in strong, healthy communities. For more timely or breaking news, visit our blog, Human Interests, or visit our Web site. If you have questions, please e-mail David Takami or call 206-684-0253.

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