Announcing Final Round of Pierce County ELO Fund Subgrantees

young boy with a pair of goggles in a swimming pool

In partnership with Pierce County, The Foundation for Tacoma Students is thrilled to announce the programs selected for funding from our second and third rounds of review through the Pierce County Expanded Learning Opportunity (ELO) Fund! 

The final round of awardees are receiving more than $500,000 in investments for out of school learning and enrichment programming. Combined with our first round of funding, the Foundation is investing a total of $724,000 in community partners and organizations through the ELO Fund. We extend our deep appreciation to all ELO Fund applicants.

The following programs were selected to receive funding for their strong alignment with the goal of the ELO Fund to provide expanded learning opportunities that focus on social-emotional learning outcomes for youth of color from low-income backgrounds throughout Pierce County. 

Asia Pacific Cultural Center | The Tautua Youth Group serves at-risk, low income Asian and Pacific Islander youth. The youth groups meet on a weekly basis and touch on a variety of topics including career exploration, substance use and prevention, covid, college readiness, civic engagement and activism, and other relevant issues. Activities also include Polynesian dance instruction through which participants learn about the art, culture, heritage, traditions, and values of the Pacific Islands.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Puget Sound | BBBS provides one on one mentoring to roughly 40 Pierce County youth through the Mentoring in Mid-County program to support kids as they grapple with the conflicting emotions prompted by COVID-19 and the uprisings for racial justice. The program focuses on reaching youth in areas that do not have a lot of out-of-school time options. Through careful mentor training, extra wraparound support and youth-driven activities, the Mentoring in Mid-County program gives young people the space and tools to begin recovering from the trauma of 2020 and 2021.

Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound | Summer Day Camp is a 10-week, 11-hour per day enriching summer program for youth ages 6-18 across all BBBS locations. United by a weekly theme, BBBS staff and youth co-develop unique experiential activities that incorporate physical movement, science and technology, teamwork, hands-on learning, self-reflection and arts and crafts. Daily activities also incorporate six nationally recognized programs designed by Boys & Girls Clubs of America that promote social-emotional learning, healthy lifestyles, and academic success.

Camp Fire Orca | Camp Fire Orca’s Wayfinding and Discovery Program serves young people between the ages of 12-21 experiencing homelessness. In small group settings, young people are provided a heartening space to participate in guided activities that center on their emotional well-being while participating in community-based service projects and outdoor activities (hiking, kayaking, shoreline and marine life exploration, forest and nature surveying, swimming, and group games).

Enhanced Prep | Enhanced Prep’s Virtual Village program is a year round drop-in program for students from elementary through college and their parents. Through this flexible and adaptable program, attendees receive support on homework, AP courses/exams, SAT/ACT, personal statements, COA letters, college apps, scholarship applications, resume writing, interview preparation, FAFSA/WAFSA completion, and GED completion. During the summer of 2021,  Enhanced Prep will provide SAT and ACT courses, as well as review workshops on algebra, grammar, reading comprehension, geometry, and advanced math topics intended to address the learning loss impacts of COVID-19 and virtual school environments.

Friends of the Children Tacoma | Through the Professional Mentorship program, Friends of the Children Tacoma helps participants between the ages of 5-7 build the relationships, confidence, healthy habits, and life skills needed to achieve lifelong success. Activities include reading together, coloring, simple puzzles, board games, making and eating a snack, throwing or kicking a ball or jumping rope. Staff model appropriate behavior and coach children to demonstrate positive social behavior when interacting with peers. Youth learn how to exhibit cooperative play skills, demonstrate positive social behavior when interacting with adults,  effectively communicate and manage emotions, and engage with allies and resources. 

Girls Hearts on Fire | Girls Hearts on Fire (GHOF) focuses on empowering young women through leadership, life-skills, and entrepreneurship by providing programs that center around social-emotional learning and sisterhood. GHOF’s Summer Explorers program focuses on self discovery and understanding others by immersing in local culture. Young women in grades 6-8 visit museums, participate in post-secondary pathway tours, and visit wilderness attractions, such as the Hoh Rainforest Hike.

Greentrike | The Seeds of Peace Social Justice Mentorship and Summer Book Clubs Initiative invites youth-led groups to discuss and analyze social justice through reading and connecting with community leaders and other youth throughout the community. Small book club groups will engage in a community service/civic engagement project to develop greater understanding of social justice dynamics in their communities and experience greater relationship building among their peers.

Hilltop Artists in Residence | Hilltop Artists’ Summer Glass Arts Programs offers Pierce County youth the chance to create glass art in a safe and welcoming school space, connect with peers and trusted mentors, learn skills in glass arts, and build stronger connections to school and learning. All programs also feature wrap-around outreach support. Hilltop’s Arts Connect program serves young women involved with the Pierce County Juvenile Court’s diversion, probation, foster care, truancy, and at-risk programs; and provides an environment for students to build trust, confidence, and a sense of belonging.

Hopes and Dreams Foundation | The Battleground summer program includes activities that support fun, personal growth, and social connections designed to address the impacts and disconnections associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Battleground includes a variety of clubs and group meetings with focuses that include diversity and cultural differences, the effects of race on today’s youth of color, and how their voice can create the much needed change in the community and world.

JSOL Studios LLC | JSOL Studios LLC co-designs programs alongside organizations and stakeholders that are committed to advocating for the holistic health and mental wellbeing of children; prenatal to school-age youth. The organization’s Social-Emotional Learning Opportunity Program engages a small cohort of youth between the ages of 5-10 years old in a five-week long initiative prioritizing each child’s social-emotional wellness as they prepare for the transition back to school. All sessions are group-oriented with parents and caregivers highly encouraged to attend, thereby strengthening bonds and helping caregivers in their own skill development. 

Metro Aquatics Boosters | Metro Aquatics No Experience Swim Team provides a series of one-week-long mini swim camps for youth without any swimming experience. These mini camps include socializing young people with being in the pool, water safety skills, and learning to swim through play. Outreach for the camps is focused on BIPOC youth, as an intentional effort to change the narrative around swimming and address the sport’s predominantly white participant base.

Multicultural Child and Family Hope Center | The Taking Summer By STORM (Science, Technology, Outdoors learning, Reflection & Math) program serves BIPOC foster youth from communities across Pierce County. This program includes age-appropriate learning and activities that involve S.T.E.M., sports, financial literacy, reading/writing, art, cooking, computers and programming, dance, theater, and music. The program had added new elements in 2021 to help support youth catch-up with lost learning during the pandemic. This includes dedicated 1-on-1 mentoring, drop-in zones for mental health support, a free resource store for families to grab backpacks and school supplies, and a dedicated library that is culturally integrative and includes literary work representative of MCFHC’s service population.

Oasis Youth Center | The LGBTQ Summer Wellness Program is targeted towards Queer/Trans/Intersex youth of color, as well as participants in the Project 13 middle school program. Participants come together in a supportive environment to share in their lived experiences. The program includes community building activities, conversations about intersectionality, relevant movie discussions and other engaging activities. Youth engage in peer support and also connect with supportive adults who have also shared similar lived experiences.

PUSH for Dreams | PUSH for Dreams empowers and supports elementary, middle, and high school students through a specialized group mentoring model that emphasizes social-emotional learning, leadership, character development, and basic life skills curricula. The Leadership Academy program utilizes the Whole Child mentoring model by building it into existing systems of social, emotional, and academic supports. The program focuses on addressing present conditions that give rise to mental, emotional, behavioral, and health difficulties; as well as on developing shared solutions to address those conditions.

Safe Streets Campaign | Safe Streets’ Leadership Academy provides youth with opportunities for experiential learning, leadership development and life skills. Planned activities include workshops on mindfulness, college and career preparation, money management, advocacy, and project planning. The program also hosts local motivational speakers, professionals and business owners.

Speak Up! | The Speak Up! 253 Summer Youth Program promotes social and emotional learning, establishes healthy peer relationships and interactions, encourages goal setting, and increases civic engagement awareness and involvement in youth ages 5-18. The program utilizes an intergenerational approach whereby youth engage with adult staff and youth leaders that directly reflect and represent them, and bring lived experiences including homelessness, citizenship obstacles, generational poverty, and other socioeconomic determinants of health. 

Summer Champs | The Summer Champs program is an initiative hosted by Franklin Pierce School District at Perry G. Keithley Middle School. During Summer Champs,  students engage in daily team building and SEL games. Academic rotations include literacy, math, leadership/SEL, youth and government and fitness. The academic rotations are complemented by weekly field trips to local destinations such as the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and Mount Rainier, through which participants gain a greater understanding of their wider Puget Sound community.

Tacoma Ministerial Alliance | The Employment and Environmental Justice Program, an experiential youth training, employment, and environmental justice program, serves BIPOC youth between the ages of 12 and 24. The program introduces youth to a range of employment opportunities in relevant industries, while helping them gain work skills and take first steps toward building a career and life pathway. The program includes environmental justice education as well as internship opportunities conducted in partnership with the City of Tacoma Environmental Services Department, Hilltop Action Coalition, Front and Centered climate justice coalition, and other partners.

Tacoma Shine Youth Athletics | Tacoma Shine Youth Athletics provides mentor and tutoring youth camps and sports teams designed to help youth develop into positive adults. The organization’s athletics programming includes four youth basketball teams, a football team, and a track team. Tacoma Shine sends youth to college viewing camps and national tournaments to compete on a high level, and has an established track record of assisting youth in obtaining college scholarships. In addition, Tacoma Shine’s programming includes weekly gatherings where program participants discuss personal issues and find ways to solve them as a group.

Washington Trafficking Prevention | The Empowering Youth & Preventing Exploitation summer program is designed for young people between the ages of 13-17 to learn how to make safe and responsible decisions for themselves and be active bystanders within the community. Participants learn about the background of human trafficking and exploitation, discuss gender stereotypes and the toxicity within gender roles that create gender-based violence and the impacts this has on physical, psychological, and emotional safety. Participants are equipped with the skills to spot online predators, build self-esteem, manage emotions, and develop boundaries and healthy relationships with peers, family and adults.

YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties |The Y’s Summer Learning Academy provides fun, high-quality enrichment activities focusing on academics, physical activity, and social-emotional support for youth, and has a proven track record of keeping students engaged in learning and constructive activities throughout the summer and to prevent summer learning loss. The Academy serves both elementary and middle school aged students, and includes daily activities that run the gamut from daily academic subjects like math, Washington State history, and English Language Arts; to visits to local college campuses and museums, as well as arts-based programming.