White House Honors Washingtonian for Summer Youth Program
Friday, February 26, 2016
SEATTLE - Bill Hanawalt of Tacoma is being honored at the White House today as a Champion of Change for Summer Opportunity.
A ceremony will pay tribute to Hanawalt and eight other nominees along with the city of Seattle for their efforts to help students continue to learn while school is out during summer.
Hanawalt, executive director of Peace Community Center, said the center serves working families in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood.
"There's a lot of challenges that happen during the summer when young folks are unsupervised or home alone," he said, "and so we can turn that time when often students backslide academically to a time of rich learning and great experiences for kids."
While Peace Community Center's programs are focused on academics, Hanawalt said he understands that kids need the opportunity to play during the summer, too. Even with its limited resources and capacity, the center is able to partner with other programs and give a comprehensive experience to kids in elementary school all the way through high school. They go on field trips and get art lessons. Hanawalt said the center doesn't approach the programs like school in summer.
"We certainly try and get away from the stigma of summer school, which is somewhat of a punitive program at times," he said, "or students feel like, 'Well, if I have to go to summer school, there must be something wrong.' "
Hanawalt also is working with lawmakers in Olympia to ensure that more kids have access to programs.
David Beard, education policy and advocacy director for School's Out Washington, said it can be tricky to find summer programs such as Hanawalt's in other parts of the state. Although school districts sometimes have small budgets for summer programs, often there aren't enough participants to justify spending money, and so kids miss out and potentially fall behind.
"Availability of funding just isn't there," he said. "There aren't the private foundations there that can support, families don't have much money to put into it, and then the state really isn't putting any money into it."
Information on more summer youth programs in Washington is online at schoolsoutwashington.org.
get more stories like this via email
BOISE, Idaho -- Wildfires are affecting air quality across the West, bringing hidden dangers in smoke that can harm people's health. The Boise-based …
DENVER -- The days of exponentially high increases in health-insurance costs may finally be in the rearview mirror. The Colorado Division of …
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Cultural institutions in the U.S. are facing scrutiny to be more accessible and inclusive. The organization in charge of Iowa's …
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Last month's deadly heat wave in the Northwest underscored the need to reduce carbon emissions, but advocates want to ensure low-…
MINOT, N.D. -- Many arguments are being floated about legislation before Congress that would bring big changes to U.S. labor laws. The bill has its …
Health and Wellness
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Health-care advocates called on Missouri lawmakers to allocate funds for Medicaid expansion right away, after the state …
AUGUSTA, Maine -- School meals in Maine will be free for all students again this year and into the future, but parents are being urged to fill out …
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A report outlines how federal efforts to bring solar energy to one in four American households could bring clean energy to …