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As fall weather comes in and students go back to school, our Summer Youth Program (SYP) has come to an end. SYP is always an exciting program full of outdoor barbecues, art, swimming, and family campouts, but with Covid-19, our program went digital. Despite the many challenges, we were able to bring a successful Summer Youth Program to High Point, NewHolly, and Rainier Vista.

Through Zoom, DNDA was able to create safe and fun virtual spaces for youth to come together. Soccer, EcoArts, Home Gardening, Girls Self Defense, Leadership, and Dance were all able to happen in virtual space. We would like to thank Seattle Housing Authority for the vital partnership that allows us to continue to provide artistic and recreational programming virtually.

Here are some highlights:

Spoken Word Night with Rajnii Eddins

During this amazing night, Rajnii Eddins shared excerpts from his book Their Names are Mine. Youth were given time to express their thoughts and emotions around the poetry being shared, and to ask Rajnii questions about his work. Processing some of the challenges relating to the Black American experience helped to facilitate healing through art. Following the event, we sent a copy of Rajnii’s book to every youth participant.

Delbert Richardson’s Moving Museum

During two special events, Delbert Richardson shared his American History Moving Museum to Elementary, Middle, and High schoolers. These presentations were focused on African American inventors, slavery, and informing students that they can create and be anything they want to.

The inventors Delbert mentioned created items we use in our everyday lives that are often overlooked due to the emphasis on white European inventors and historical figures commonly taught in public school curriculum. This event was a beautiful way to bring our youth community closer together, uniting them through their cultural and ethnic identity, and encouraging them to pursue their goals.

EcoArts

In DNDA’s EcoArts program, youth worked with teaching artists Amanda Jorgenson and Molly Duttry to do guided art activities with a nature focus. Youth shared their work after each session, and at the end of the program, vocalized that they appreciated this class because it gave them time to work on something together but in a virtual space.

Art Challenge 

The art challenge has been a successful program for DNDA since March. In this program, families receive art prompts created by teaching artists through text message twice a week. When a family completes a prompt, they send an image of their work to our Coordinators, and once they reach five completed prompts, the family receives a free pizza. Challenge accepted!

Cooking Class

Cooking was one of our most successful programs over the summer. Families received cooking kits from Chef Mulu of Phresh Eats once a week, with a recipe and Youtube video to follow. This program was geared toward teaching youth how to cook healthy meals from all over the world.

Soccer

In our soccer program, Coach Jhana led youth through soccer exercises via Zoom, to ensure youth could continue to be physically active while at home. This program was the most silly, and youth were very excited to exercise and get to know each other.

Given the success of our virtual programs, we are continuing a few of our programs through the fall! We’re still connecting with families through the art challenge, cooking, and soccer.