Two youth facilities in federally assisted communities to be remodeled
By MARY JEAN SPADAFORA
Bellevue Reporter Staff Writer, Staff Writer
July 4, 2012 · Updated 6:03 AM
Youth facilities at two East Bellevue federally assisted housing communities are being expanded to provide more after-school programs for low-income children.
After the remodels, the Bellevue Boys and Girls Clubs clubhouses at Spiritwood Manor, 1424 148th Ave. SE and Hidden Village at 14508 SE 24th St. will aim to provide better educational opportunities to adolescents by connecting extra-curricular activities with the children's' school activities.
KCHA has partnered with the Bellevue School District, Eastside Pathways and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue to design the program model for the two locations. The facilities, once complete, will include classrooms, multipurpose activity rooms, computer labs and art rooms.
"The intent by the Housing Authority is that, while it is very important to provide safe and stable housing...it's not enough," said KCHA spokesperson, Rhonda Rosenburg. "For kids to be competitive in the marketplace when they grow up, they need to do well in school as kids."
The expansion initiative began last year, focusing on 17 assisted housing communities in King County, in an effort to renovate youth facilities and create adult career development resources by working with Head Start. Larger communities, like Greenbridge in White Center and the Springwood Apartments in Kent, were targeted first.
As the focus shifted from larger communities to smaller developments, KCHA found the opportunity to work more closely with parents, school districts and nonprofit providers to improve youth programs.
Bellevue BGC aims to provide academic programs specific to the youth in Spiritwood Manor and Hidden Village. Eastside Pathways, an organization that works to provide children with a fulfilling and successful life from cradle to career, will work with BGC, the school district and the housing authority to address gaps in each organization's goals for low-income students in those communities.
Using data provided by the Bellevue School District, certain subjects, tutors, study skill workshops, or other academic support would be provided. Teachers in the district also plan to keep lines of communication open with students, parents and BGC staff to ensure students don't fall through the cracks.
"It's really more of a connect the dots effort," said Eastside Pathways president, Bill Henningsgaard.
Kathy Haggart, CEO of Bellevue BGC, said the partnerships enable staff members to adjust programming to what kids need academically, while partnering those goals with physical and nutritional programming provided by BGC staff. The holistic approach helps adolescents learn how to make smart decisions in life, she said.
"It's a terrific example of how different organizations can work together for kids and families," she said.
Funding for the $2 million budget to renovate the Spiritwood Manor and Hidden Village clubhouses comes from property revenues and internal resources. Each assisted housing property has a different funding model based on federal grants, state funding and internal revenue. Construction on each facility began as money became available.
Currently, KCHA is redesigning seven youth facilities. Construction on Spiritwood Manor and Hidden Village is expected to be complete in spring 2013. A teen club in Lake hills will open July 12 and provide programming for middle and high school students.
While the Spiritwood Manor and Hidden Village clubhouses are closed for construction, youth in these communities will have access to either the Eastside Terrace Clubhouse at 704 147th Pl SE or the South Bellevue Community Center Clubhouse at 14509 SE Newport Way.Contact Bellevue Reporter Staff Writer, Staff Writer Mary Jean Spadafora at email@example.com or 425-453-4270, ext. 28-5058.