Written by Yeggy Michael.
On August 14, 2021, DNDA’s Family Connections program hosted a community gathering at High Point Commons Park that attracted almost 90 participants. After over 14 months of zoom workshop and meetings, this was the first in-person gathering for the families, including four cohorts supporting Somali, Oromo, Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Vietnamese families. Each cohort includes 5 to 6 families, with a total of 21 families including 64 kids. During the in-person gathering, DNDA provided a BBQ dinner and gave away 21 new laptops, 64 backpacks, and $200 gift cards to 64 youth for school supplies in preparation for the 2021 school year.
The program started with a welcome message from DNDA and our guest speaker for the day, the founder of Xena Foundation, Merica Whitehall. Merica talked about personal and community equity in health, education, the arts, access to nature and offered the Foundation’s services to our participants for free. Next, a Microsoft engineer spoke about the importance of technology, and with a colleague, they offered their expertise to answer any questions about technology.
DNDA’s Family Connections program, funded by King County’s Best Starts for Kids Initiative, has been supporting the High Point community by inviting guest speakers, and providing financial and material support to 21 families and 64 kids, since the summer of 2020. The program has led tutoring programs, welcomed inspirational speakers, community leaders, parenting experts, Covid-19 information, and several workshops that increase positive relationships between parents/caretakers and their children. The Family Connections program will continue its support at least until the end of December.
We receive a lot of great feedback from parents. One mother speaks to her feelings about the program this way:
“We are so grateful to the program leaders for giving us such incredible support during this difficult time. We were all facing financial limitations and some of us were worried about how to buy school supplies for our children. Seattle Public Schools took back all of their computers and we did not have any computers for the children to work on during the summer, and now having brand new computers and enough school supplies that we can purchase other computers for some or all the children is a blessing from God.”
We are honored to be supporting families in this way. Big thanks to King County and the Best Starts For Kids programs, to DNDA Board Member Amy Young for donating the backpacks, and to our incredible program team who are working so hard in support of our neighborhood youth and families.