Culture & Voice

Students sitting on floor with drums at Cultural Center.

Our School Outreach Coordinator, Kimberly Foster, at TAF@Saghalie, had two great highlights to show off in February. First, The Korean classes at TAF@Saghalie, invited Communities In Schools students join in on their visit to the Morning Star Korean Cultural Center. Kimberly accompanied the students to the Cultural Center, where they learned about Korean history, music, dance, food, and language by participating in various activities with their host. The students got the opportunity to practice and experience some of things they had learned about in class.

Second, the Scholar Voice Collaborative at TAF@Saghalie, had a great kick off for 2nd semester! The students have worked hard to establish their purpose, explore and define their school community, and look for ways to impact their community with their voices. They voted on the ideas they want to work on as a project for this semester. Some of the topics discussed were racism, favoritism, equal rights and double standards for male/female students, and judging and assumptions by teachers. The students are very excited and attendance was 100% for their kick off! 

Colorful graphic with three boxes. Handwritten notes in each box. First box reads: We are Empowered; Positive; Respectful; Hard working; Kind; Sharing. Second box reads: Why are we hear? To achieve great things. Third box reads: Community at TAF@Saghalie.


Group of three students with School Outreach Coordinator, Gina Forest, holding hand cut hearts.

Group of four students holding hand cut hearts.

Throughout the month of Febuary, Todd Beamer High School celebrated Black History Month. The theme the Black Student Union Club chose for Black History Month was “Unity”. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Gina Forest, brought together students from Communities In Schools and the Black Student Union Club to show and spread a message of love and unity. They came together and cut over one hundred and fifty hearts that read: “You are great.” ”You’re beautiful.” “You brighten my world.” “Are your parent’s artist because you are a masterpiece?” They gave out hearts all over the school, to the office staff, the cafeteria staff, the security officer, the students who were alone & some together because after all, that’s what it’s about. What a great display of unity!  

Art & Soul

Our School Outreach Coordinator, Alicia Vasey-Neilson, at Sequoyah Middle School, officially launched the Art & Soul group, which uses art and creativity as a means to practice healthy coping skills. For the group’s first session, they used the elements of art (Shape, Line, Color, Texture, Space and Value) to explore emotions using the prompt, “How are you feeling today?” Students used tissue paper and glue as materials for this project and had a chance to share why they chose the elements that they did with the group. 

Art supplies on table with students hands shown working on projects.
Orange, Black and blue, tissue paper art project.

Kindness Chain

Three students in front of a brick wall holding colorful extra-long paper chain wrapped all around them.
colorful extra-long paper chain stretched out across the gym floor.

Students at Sequoyah Middle School coordinated a, “No Name Calling Week”. The purpose of the event was to create awareness for anti-bullying and kindness. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Makenna Lester, worked with the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Club on projects to support anti-bullying and kindness. During lunches, GSA students ran a booth where their peers could sign a pledge to use kind language and become more aware of how their words can affect others. The Gay Straight Alliance Club also created a “Kindness Chain” where people could write positive messages to friends and teachers on slips of paper. During GSA meetings, club members stapled these messages together to create a chain as long as the gym!  

Heartwarming Project Action Award

Our School Outreach Coordinator, Amber Rowe Mosley, at Thomas Jefferson High School, received a big surprise in the mail this week. The WE Day Foundation selected the Thomas Jefferson High School SOAR (Students Organized Against Racism) team for their Heartwarming Project Action Award. The award came with a $250 gift card to support efforts of anti-racism in their school. The money will help support SOAR’s spring “Woke Week” activities.  

Card from winning the  award: Congratulations on your Heartwarming Project Action Award!

Young, Gifted and Black Conference

On February 1st, our School Outreach Coordinator, Shana Ludwig, at Decatur High School, took five young ladies to the Young, Gifted and Black Conference at University of Washington. The purpose of the Young, Gifted and Black Conference was to promote positive self-esteem, social consciousness, and cultural awareness, while simultaneously emphasizing the importance of higher education. At the conference they separated the students from the adults and had workshops set up to teach the students about UW and what the school has to offer, while giving the students the opportunity to interact with current African American UW students and staff.

School Outreach Coordinator, Shana Ludwig, with staff member at event.

They also informed students what the University of Washington is looking for in their admission applications. Shana was excited for the opportunity to get a glimpse of the students outside of school, in a different setting and enjoyed being with them at the Young, Gifted and Black Conference. 

Mind Over Matter

Work out equipment and meditation tools.

Our School Outreach Coordinator, Robert Daniel, at Lakota Middle School, created a new group called Mind Over Matter. Using research on the effects of physical exercise and mindfulness, Robert designed and implemented an intervention group that combines weight lifting and meditation. The goal of the Mind Over Matter group is to teach and use the skill of Progressive Overload to help students struggling with behaviors and strong emotions, see the link between their physical state and their mental state. The students will learn to use the awareness of their physical and mental state to increase executive control over challenging behaviors.  

Inspired & Renewed

Todd Beamer High School Celebrated Black History Month with an assembly put on by the Black Student Union. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Cierra Gamble, was inspired and renewed seeing Communities In Schools students engage and inspire their fellow peers and staff. The power that these students have for positive change was on display that day at the assembly. The students and assembly created a climate of love and acceptance that the school needed. Cierra remarked on how it resonated with her saying, “the assembly reminded me that we may have a bad day or week but we are here to create positive connections and opportunities for our students that will hopefully carry them through to graduation and beyond.”  

Students in the gym holding posters during the Black History Month assembly.
Students in the gym presenting during the Black History Month assembly.

Student Superstar of the Month

Bulletin for Student Superstar of the Month with student portrait in the middle.

Our School Outreach Coordinator, Fatou Bah, at Tyee High School, had one student, Meshack, step up and really shine, receiving a nomination by one of his teachers to be the Student Superstar of the Month. Fatou met Meshack on his first day at Tyee and at that time Meshack did not speak English. Fatou recounted, after working with Meshack for only a couple of weeks, Meshack was already asking to join sports and adapted well to the Tyee community. Today he is a great leader and he helps out other students. Fatou said, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Meshack.”   


Madrona Elementary celebrated Black History Month throughout February. Our School Outreach Coordinator, Precious Yarborough, helped organize decorating the building with Pan-African themes and sharing about Black trailblazers in our local community. The students shared poetry and art to add to the celebration. One teacher even included a picture of Precious, in their Black History Month lesson! 

Student artwork; Diversity.
 Student artwork; Loving Engagement.

Mini Resource Fair Success

Students smiling at booth during resource fair.

Our School Outreach Coordinator, Marcela Arreola, at Highline High School, is pleased to announce her mini resource fair was a success. The event had an abundance of student involvement and gave the opportunity for students to connect to helpful resources and get their questions answered. Excitedly, two students even won a pair of new Nikes at the resource fair. A special thank you goes out to all the organizations that came out to participate, Department of Licensing, Para los Ninos, Youth Care, Nexus, and Planned Parenthood. Marcela is already looking to the future and her hope is to make the mini resource fair a series of multiple events to continue partnerships and promote new resources for students. 

Humanitarian Service Project

Our School Outreach Coordinator, Pat Perkins, at Illahee Middle School, runs a 6th Grade Girls group who has been working on a service project making personal hygiene bags for women. The group has been collecting small cosmetic bags to get ready for the project. After securing donations of small hygiene products, the girls filled the bags they collected with hygiene products and socks. The School Resource Officer at Illahee belongs to a motorcycle club that regularly feeds and provides resources for the homeless and is going to help gift the bags to homeless women.   

Many students working at a long table putting together the personal bags.
School Outreach Coordinator, Pat Perkins, with students at table with cosmetic bags and bins of small hygiene products.

Black Student Union

Three students holding paper for the new Black Student Union.

Our School Outreach Coordinator, Alexis Jordan, at Totem Middle School, is excited to announce the approval of their Black Student Union. The students are currently in the process of planning their first interest meeting. Alexis is happy to report they have had several students express how excited they are, even before the first interest meeting.  

Creative Outlets

Our School Outreach Coordinator, Amanda Martinson, at Federal Way High School, is helping students by using art. Students are dealing with a variety of issues and doing art therapy, Amanda says, is a good way for these students to bond and share their own experiences while being able to express themselves creatively. Having these times for art therapy gives students a positive outlet to deal with their emotions and allow them to learn more coping skills and grow. 

Students with art supplies sitting in CIS office painting.

Showing Initiative

Flyer for the boy's group.

Our School Outreach Coordinator, Cameron Enoch, at Sacajawea Middle School, had a student step forward and take charge. With interest in the boy’s group, the student approached Cameron about helping out with flyers. After choosing a basic template Cameron turned over creation to the student. The two collaborated on the finished flyer to fine tune it for printing. The flyers were handed out and posted around the school. Way to show initiative!  

Three Cheers

Our Experiential Learning Coordinator, Markese Walker-Brown, at Truman Campus, has three successes to highlight in February. First, a group of three female students committed to 100 volunteer hours through St Francis Hospital counting toward their internship.

Second, the student trip to the amazon fulfillment center was a huge success and connected three students to engineering workers willing to stay in contact with students and help them navigate their career exploration.

Lastly, one student who has been accepted to the Puget Sound Skills Center in the Auto Body Technician program, has been presented with a very unique opportunity after visiting RWC trucking company in Tukwila.

Student in from of large flatbed truck with engine compartment open.

Since the company does not offer internship opportunities and they were highly interested in partnership they worked out a job opportunity. The student is nearing completion of the hiring process, including an initial interview, completing a job shadow, and is currently waiting for human resources to officially start his position which will take place after-school. At only 16 years old, once hired the student will be the youngest person hired in the company, which has locations across the country.  

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