AAA Sewing and Vacuum on 1st Ave South in Seattle is a family owned business that has been serving our community for just about as long as I can remember. Last year, the owner of the store, Jeff Belvill, asked me if I thought any of our teens would be interested in a sewing class/camp and if so, AAA wanted to be creative in making such a thing happen. Wow. I knew that there were some middle school girls who expressed a huge interest in fashion design so Jeff and the folks at AAA pulled together the teachers and the resources needed to offer a once a week, 3 hour-long course for middle schoolers and did their own version of Project Runway! It ran for 6 weeks during the summer and it was incredible. The kids loved it! Every week they would come back and show us what they created!
AAA did it again this summer! Katie Russell and her middle schoolers from Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission summer camp were there every week learning and creating together, sharing in this experience afforded to us because people like Jeff and the teachers and the rest of the AAA staff knew that they have something special, important and downright cool to offer to the community and found a way to do so. I’m in awe of this example of adding assets to a community simply by teaching what you know and sharing what you have with others. Amazing, isn’t it?
**Pictures posted on the photos page.
This year’s block party was a huge success. Hotdogs on the grill. Incredible entertainment from local artists. Big bouncer toys including a humungous 75 ft. obstacle course. Social service agencies including the White Center CDA, SWYFS, Child Care Resources, The Way Out, Mount View Elementary PTA, Open Arms all present to connect with people in the neighborhood and lend volunteer support making sure that this event was useful, relevant, fun and efficient. Churches like The Cross Church and Mount View Presbyterian bringing resources and volunteers to set up and take down and do EVERYTHING in between. Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission there, as always, to help us be Christ’s hands, feet and heart because they share in our desire to serve White Center children, youth and families with excellence. People and youth from the neighborhood willing to loan their equipment and talent and muscle and heart to the Party. And finally, World Vision; supplying 1350 backpacks filled with school supplies and 500 bags filled with personal care items, bags valued at no less than $50 each, for our families, loving kids with us in this very significant and meaningful way. Thank you seems inadequate but all of us at the YES Foundation feel a profound sense of gratitude as we consider the privilege it is to work hand in hand with our partners to pull off a celebration like the one we had on 12th Ave on Friday!
**Pictures from the Block Party are on the photos page. Pictures by Keilah Fanene, Pat Thompson and Tom Slattery
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Over the summer, the kids who are part of the Major Taylor Project were given an opportunity to earn a bike. They participated in a class taught by our friends at Cascade Bicycle Club where they learned about the mechanics of a bike and what all of the parts of a bicycle are; they also learned the ins and outs of bike maintenance and the tools that you need, how to build a bike and how to refurbish an older bike. There was also more to learn about bike safety and being “bike smart”. Used bikes that have been donated to the program were used for the students on which to learn and practice their additional bike skills. At the end of the course, after faithful attendance and participation, our students were able to take the bike that they had worked on home with them.
Yesterday, Joe (one of the kids), rode by the church on his new-earned bike! He stopped and I asked, “Where are you going?” He said he was going to work! I thought of how many rides to work I have given to kids who missed a bus, who’s car broke down,again, or who’s ride fell through and here is Joe…using an opportunity like Earn a Bike to get to his job. I wonder if he felt accomplished or a little more independent. I’ll ask him next time he rides by! Pat Thompson
**click on the Photos page to find pictures from the Earn A Bike Program.