Changes at CfY

Dear Friends of CfY,I write to you with a mixture of excitement and sadness as I transition from Community for Youth to a new opportunity serving as the Executive Director of Neighborhood House this fall. I’ve so enjoyed meeting many of you, especially CfY’s students; you have taught me so much and helped CfY to elevate student voice, choice, and power.

I’m proud of what we accomplished over the past two years. We’ve added student leadership, service learning, and now meet  100% of the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring. We adopted Critical Mentoring, which is mentoring through a race equity lens. This approach puts youth at the center of the mentoring relationship and all that we do. Thanks to the advocacy of our youth and partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, we were successful in securing funding for high school mentoring from the state legislature. We initiated a new partnership with Seattle Goodwill and now hold all workshops at their state of the art facility in Central Seattle. We became a host agency for the University of Washington Masters in Social Work interns, and undergraduate Education Community and Organizations (ECO) interns. We strengthened partnerships with Mentor Washington, Schools Out Washington, and Seattle Public Schools. Partnerships with Employee Resource Groups at Nordstrom, Microsoft, Amazon, and more have helped us diversify our mentors to 60% people of color.

We are grateful for the feedback and participation of many of you as we re-examined and updated our mission, vision, values, and theory of change. This work helped us elevate student leadership and incorporate more equity and social justice in our work. I was transformed by what I learned at CfY, and from what I learned from all of you. I am grateful to the CfY board for their leadership and for giving me the opportunity to be a part of CfY community.

The board is working diligently on a plan with the remaining team, Stephen, Hayley, and Elizabeth, to provide consistency and continuity for the program. Your support as mentors, donors, and friends of CfY is more critical now than ever before. We’re committed to keeping you updated as these plans solidify. Thank you for your support.

Best wishes,

Janice

Current Match Spotlight: Tiffany and Katherine

Tiffany and Katherine have been matched for the past 5 months. They bonded at Launch by talking, joking, playing games, and discussing life.

They have a lot in common such as food (especially ice cream), movies, TV shows, some music. They both enjoy the outdoors, especially the water. They also both enjoy art.

When asked what they admire about each other, Katherine answered that she admires that Tiffany is a working woman of color who is very independent. Tiffany admires that Katherine is really involved in school, like ASB, and managing projects like dances and other social events.

Throughout their 5 months together, they have learned a lot from and about one another. Katherine said that she learned that Tiffany has a dog and her dog is really well behaved, even though he can’t walk straight. She also learned that it’s a good thing to expand her horizons. Tiffany learned that Katherine is a strong leader and is very ambitious. She also learned that she is allergic to citrus and likes avocados.

Throughout their time together Katherine hopes to learn more about each other, life, and in general. And of course, to eat more good food throughout the Seattle area. Tiffany also hopes they can continue to explore more places in Seattle and learn more about each other.

Meet Our Community – Aisling Underwood

Aisling at LAUNCH

I got involved with CfY because I had been wanting to get involved in volunteer work and thought CfY sounded like a great way to give back and connect with a larger community. Being in a community with people of all ages and backgrounds has been a new and enriching experience for me. CfY has reminded me of how much we can learn from others when we step outside our insular communities and our comfort zones. Deciding to show up every week, even when you are tired or have other priorities you are juggling always proves to be worth it.

My favorite experience with CfY is the powerful acknowledgments that are given at the close of every year. It’s amazing to see the students receive sincere praise for their character and growth throughout the year. The change you see in the students from when they were first acknowledged at camp to their final acknowledgment of the year is remarkable. It’s very special to witness how much their confidence has grown and how supported they feel by their CfY community.

My mentee and I have similar senses of humor and we like to laugh. In terms of differences, I like to eat anything and everything and she is a pizza girl through and through. I’m hoping by the end of the year we will be game to try some different cuisines. My mentee is a very strong and thoughtful person. At 14 she faces adversity and life’s difficulties with a grace and maturity that I strive for at 30.

If I could describe my CfY experience in one word it would be enriching.

Meet the Family Group – CfY Beans Family

CfY Beans Family – Peter, Astrid, Deji, Stephanie, Mercedez, Tim, Linda, Isia, Tyler, Tianna, Demetreyonna, and Savion. Not pictured: Michael and Ben 

Peter shared,

Hanging out with the family group is my favorite part of CfY. It’s a fun way to hang out with Tyler, my mentee, but I really like getting to know the other mentors and mentees too. I think the family groups are what sets CfY apart. Having a group of mentors that work together as a team is really valuable and makes the experience better for everyone. Time spent with the family can also be the perfect opportunity for people to open up outside of the 1-on-1 and large group settings.

Our family group spent a night at family fun center (where the mentor team beat the mentee team in laser tag!) We’ve also had a birthday party/game night for Tyler’s birthday and had a craft night creating vision boards. Our family seems to really like playing games. Even the craft night became a bit of a game: picking out pictures for each other and debating who had the best celebrity on their vision board.

I really look forward to family nights, because I know the whole group will have fun. I think our family group is special because we are so diverse. The fact that we all come from different backgrounds is what makes it interesting.” 

Current Match Spotlight: Peter and Tyler

Peter and Tyler

I was pumped I got matched with Tyler at Match Night. We’ve been matched for 6 months. We first bonded at Launch. We played a lot of games in the cabin together (our cabin was a lot of fun). Tyler taught me a card game similar to Uno, and I taught Tyler poker and Codenames. Tyler also beat me in basketball.

We have similar personalities, we’re both active and like sports, and most of all we share a similar sense of humor. We have different backgrounds and very different heights. Tyler insists we have different tastes in music, but I disagree.

Tyler has shown me some new music, some fresh, thoughtful perspectives, and even gave me some career advice. I’ve helped Tyler with interviewing tips at What’s Next, showed him how to solve a tricky geometry problem, and showed good sportsmanship when I beat Tyler in go-karts AND laser tag.

Meet Our Community with Jordan

Jordan Lee, CfY Mentor

I got involved with CfY because I had a college friend who had been a mentor for five years or so and a co-worker had been a mentor for two. Both recounted very positive experiences and at some point, I ran out of excuses to not give it a try. I volunteered at Garfield when I was at UW and have always been interested in serving youth. This organization provided a structured way to do that with other local professionals like me.

One of my favorite memories so far is with my current mentee. We went to Gameworks and shot a lotttt of baskets. I started off alright, but he crushed me. It was nice to just relax and hang out. Also, I am still in touch with my mentee last year who is now at WSU. It’s been great to meet up when he’s back home from college and check in with him as he goes through a big growth year as a freshman.

My mentee and I are alike in that he is interested in engineering and I am a mechanical engineer at an Architecture/Engineering design firm. I was able to show him around my workplace at some of the things we do in a professional setting. He might be more into the robotic side of engineering, but it was good to share things like our 3D printer and laser cutter to him. Our differences are plenty – he’s got cooler shoes and headphones than me for one. The rap he listens to is different than most of the rap I listen to. I was born to Chinese Immigrants and he’s a Somali immigrant. He is working more hours as a HS senior at two jobs than I did when I was at one job at his age. We’ve got lots of differences that have nuggets of commonality between us.

From my CfY experience, I’ve learned communication is huge in any relationship. I find myself also applying communication tools and success in my relationship with my student to apply to my personal and professional life and vice versa. If I could describe my CfY experience with one word it would be grounded.

Meet the Family Group – Sarah Choy

Sarah’s Family Group (Not pictured: Emil and Carl) 

The Family Group component of CfY is one of the main times during our years together where we get to know everyone’s character, watch dynamics of the group play out, where we truly become a family. A lot of the times you get placed into a group of complete strangers. The family group component is important because we are forced out of our comfort zones, able to talk/hang out/learn about our differences and similarities with open minds….we can be ourselves (students and mentors) by having fun, without judgment. Family Group is a safe and supportive environment. Our family group is special because someone’s always there to lend a helping hand, there’s always a smart joke being cracked, I’ve made 11 new friends, and it’s always a good time!

Meet Our Community with Donnalyn

Donnalyn and Carrie

I found out about CfY through one of my friends. What drew me in was the fact that there was a mentor to support you and in order to find that just right mentor you would go to Launch at Camp Colman.

CfY has allowed me to make new connections that I wouldn’t have on a daily basis, along with being offered opportunities. Through CfY I’m exposed to other programs, volunteer work, and so on that goes beyond what my school provides.

CfY has prepared me for my future by helping me learn to be more involved in a community and having a voice. If I could describe my experience with CfY in one word it would be: discovery.

CfY Welcomes Two New Board Members

Seattle, WA – Community for Youth announces the appointment of two new members of its Board of Directors. Joining the Board of Directors are Andrew Donaldson and Kenisha Baxter.

Andrew joins the Board after two years of service as a mentor in CFY. He is passionate about supporting local youth, and prior to his time at CFY spent several years as a volunteer basketball coach at Seattle Parks and Recreation. In addition to CFY, Andrew is also an active volunteer for Obliteride, the Montlake Club, and NAIOP.

Andrew is a Sr. Project Manager at Westlake Consulting Group, a local construction, and development project management firm. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time and traveling with his wife Katie and daughter Cora, playing golf and basketball, cycling, cheering on the Dawgs, and (attempting) home improvement projects.

Previously, Andrew was a mentor with CfY and had this to say about why he supports CfY,
“I support CFY because the Program (1) provides resources and support for those who may not have access to it and (2) teaches and challenges its members to become more informed and active citizens. The process in which this happens, at both a mentor and mentee level, is incredible.”

Kenisha Baxter is a Solution Sales Consultant at Cambia Health Services. She has a passion for improving health and overall well-being. In her current role, Kenisha works with employers to improve their employee population health while increasing employee engagement through various solutions. She focuses on solving problems and has a deep-rooted passion for understanding the correlation between challenges to then understand how to solve them.

Over the years, she has developed a strong desire to support youth so they have the best possible opportunity for a meaningful and successful future. She understands that both meaning and success are measured differently and are ever-evolving. With that, she believes in the impact of devoted, 1:1 mentorship to support youth. She sees CFY as a vital launchpad to support the needs of our community’s teens. When she reflects on her childhood and teen years, she remembers the support that her extended family gave to her and her parents. It offered perspective. It is that perspective, she believes, that can help create a vision and opportunities to navigate through life.

Kenisha holds a dual-degree, Bachelor of Science from Vanderbilt University in Human and Organizational Development and Spanish.

Our full list of our Board of Directors can be found below.
Lara Hansen, Building Oz, Board President
Stephen Koszalka, Amazon, Board Vice President
Sheila Roe, CPA, Treasurer
Richard Manhattan, Propyrion, Board Secretary
Chris Rooney, Willis Towers Watson, Immediate Past President
Clay Gilge, KPMG
David Roe, Slalom Consulting
Roger Lorenze, Ewing & Clark, Inc.
Ben Masters, Microsoft Azure
Rovina Broomfield, Amazon
Mohammed Adeeyo, Boeing
Andrew Donaldson, Westlake Consulting Group
Kenisha Baxter, Cambia Health Solutions

Our Vision
Youth are empowered to discover a future of possibility for themselves and their community.

Our Mission
We inspire and support students to be their best selves through mentoring, learning experiences, and a powerful community.

If you are interested in joining the Community for Youth Board of Directors, please email our Executive Director, Janice Deguchi at Janice@communityforyouth.org.

Current Match Spotlight: Rhonda and August

As a mentor and volunteer for over 15 years and a student for 4 years, Rhonda and August are familiar faces around Community for Youth. They met during a Launch weekend at Camp Colman as residents of the same cabin. Four years later, they are celebrating all they have learned from and about each other as they prepare to end their time with CfY. August will be graduating this year, and Rhonda will be taking a break from mentoring.

With so many years spent together, they have become close and admire many things about each other. August shared, “I like her type of humor, and that she’s kind enough to befriend just about anyone. That has made me envious more than once. On top of that, she’s dependable and has stayed in the program through thick and thin. She’s the best.” Rhonda shared, “Her joie de vivre!!!  August has the best laugh EVER and a wonderful, giving spirit. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say a negative word about another person. She is incredibly kind – unless you are playing her in a game of Spoons, then she is just plain wicked!”