The DNDA Summer Youth Program drew a strong turnout this year, with over 300 youth participating across the High Point, NewHolly, and Rainier Vista neighborhoods. 2021 marked five years of DNDA leading arts and recreation programming in partnership with Seattle Housing Authority. This year, we took a hybrid approach due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Most of the programming was held in person, outside with appropriate precautions taken such as staff wearing masks. Programs included weekly Cooking Kit delivery with corresponding YouTube videos by Chef Mulugeta, the virtual EcoArts class, a teen girls self-defense class series, a teen girls leadership workshop, three community Mural Projects, screen-printing, soccer, basketball, dance, a virtual spoken word night with Rajnii Eddins and a virtual talk by Monique Burton, a local pediatric doctor who also works with the US Olympics Team.
The variety of programs offered, and flexible open enrollment format, allowed youth and their families to decide on a day by day basis which opportunities were best suited to meet their needs. Many parents commented on enjoying the ability to get together in person and encourage their kids to spend more time outside. Over the course of the summer, youth got to know more kids from their neighborhood and form friendships. The free, local program provides opportunities for kids to be involved in something special over the summer, supporting families who may be unable to take a summer vacation or afford camps or other summer clubs.
Some of the youth from these SHA communities were brought on as interns to provide logistical support to the DNDA coordinators and gain employment experience. Interns also help inspire other kids to participate, and exemplify leadership amongst their peers. 27 teens participated in the program as interns this year. Feedback from this year’s interns reflects the positive impact that DNDA has had in these communities. High Point SYP intern Mohamed Abdi said “The internship really helped me as a person by making me feel more confident of myself and being more responsible as a teen.”
DNDA is grateful for the support of our community partners and the families who engaged in the program.