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Our Mission

The YES! Foundation of White Center serves children, youth and young adults through relationship based programs that foster self and social awareness, promote education and repurpose power in an under resourced community.

A Message from
our Director

Spring is here. Finally. 

One of the things I am looking forward to this season is we'll be planting in Ala Mai Garden soon.  Ala Mai Garden is a community garden in White Center that YES! started last July! Ala Mai is Samoan for "awake". We're planting later in the season this year because the low temperatures have persisted longer passed winter than usual!  Last summer, the garden team designed and built the beds, prepared the soil and did most of the planting!  Youngsters from a neighborhood preschool and also, from a summer day camp in the community came to learn, play, dig and plant with us too!  The first foods that were planted and harvested were squash, cucumbers, snap peas, strawberries, zucchini and tomatoes.  How amazing is that? We shared much of that first fruit of our labor with families in the community and then, took a good amount of the harvest to the White Center Food Bank!  To be honest, the whole experience has been thrilling!  From the day the soil was delivered to putting seeds in the ground; from children chasing butterflies to listening to a preschooler sing her little onion bulbs to bed; from being able to appreciate the role of pollinator flowers in a garden to watching as Earth brought FOOD from dirt! Are you kidding me? I've never been more aware of my city girlhood than when I found myself standing next to compost not being able to stop fan-girling over the bright yellow squash that just appeared...seemingly out of nowhere...right there, in the garden...I know, of ALL places! 

I'm beyond grateful and even amazed about the vast opportunity the garden presents for us to teach and learn alongside the children, youth and families in our community and to strengthen our connection and partnerships with local schools and other non profit organizations.  Ala Mai will also help families in our community put food on the table when the month gets long and money gets tight.  Food insecurity is real so being a bridge to resources and relationships is vital. 

I'm sure you'll hear more about Ala Mai Garden in future messages. I have a feeling there'll be more fan-girling, too, because the other day, I heard somebody say something about growing blueberries!!  Yay!! We're all wishing you a beautiful spring!  And I am personally hoping for you to have your own "standing next to compost & yellow squash" moment this season!

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