Mission: The Community Programs mission is to provide comprehensive services to support education and employment success, promote civic engagement, expand opportunities for youth to meet their legal financial obligations, and to remove barriers to success for justice-involved and other eligible youth. This is accomplished through developing strong partnerships and leveraging community resources to serve youth through a variety of programs.
History: The Community Programs Unit was formed in 1982 as a means for the Juvenile Court to help promote the educational and financial success of court involved and other opportunity youth, as well as to monitor and support youth in meeting their legal financial obligations.
What we do: The projects under Community Programs promote balanced and restorative justice for court-involved youth by building competency, advancing connections with community, counteracting harm that has been caused through offense behaviors, providing skills for personal development and removing barriers to success for underserved youth.
Community Programs presents a unique approach in working with the under-served, court-involved youth to address and impact court imposed fines, job training, assisting with employment opportunities that are life changing, and that have a lasting positive impact on their lives.
The work of the Juvenile Court’s Community Programs Unit has evolved over time and continues to do so.
Education and Employment Training (EET) is a research-based program which provides comprehensive, individualized assessment, job readiness training, goal setting, the removal of barriers such as transportation, lack of identification or a social security card, support for school engagement/reengagement, resume writing, interviewing skills, job retention skills, service learning and career exploration projects, incentives, paid internships and support for ongoing education and unsubsidized employment.
Education and Employment Specialists with the EET Program are assigned by geographic areas:
North and East King County: Guy McWhorter
Southwest King County: Leslie Horton
Seattle/South Seattle: John Leers
South King County: Demetrius Devers
South King County: Dawn Nannini
The Avanza Program, described under the school section, also has an assigned Education Employment Specialist (Riley Todd) who works to provide job readiness training, secure paid internships, employment referral and support.
Education and Employment Training supports school success through: working with youth to determine their goals and interests, exploring educational resources, assisting with enrollment, making connections to appropriate resources and programs, providing incentives for completion of milestones, monitoring school attendance and engagement, and working to remove barriers to success.
The Avanza Program is a partnership between King County Education and Employment Resources (EER), Highline School District, and King County Superior Court. The program works with youth in the Highline School District who may or may not be court involved. The Education Employment Specialist in this position provides outreach and enrollment services, case management, mentoring, life skills, leadership development, referral to support services for housing, substance abuse, mental health, and immigration support services, as well as assistance with barrier fees for transportation, testing and school supplies.
Community Programs seeks to provide opportunities for youth to connect to and to give back to their communities. This affords them a sense of belonging and pride in their community while promoting personal growth and self-esteem. Community Programs youth have been involved in a variety of service projects in the community, some of these include: Juneteenth flyer distribution; graffiti paint outs, neighborhood clean-ups, set up for Reunification Day.Summer Earn and Learn Program in a collaboration between New Start High School, King County Education and Employment Resources, King County Superior Court, Neighborhood House, and community volunteers. For six weeks, from June to August, fifteen youth are employed in landscaping, gardening, experiential learning, field trips all while learning geometry, algebra and applied math skills. While in the program youth receive support services, mentoring, behavioral and emotional skill development, assistance with fall enrollment, job readiness skills and credit recovery.
Program participants are provided with opportunities to gain knowledge, skills, and resources that will enable them to fulfill their legal financial obligations. By paying restitution to the victims of their offenses with money earned through their own hard work, youth may develop a greater sense of victim awareness. Our Review Monitor, Dorcas Olegario, answers youths’ questions about restitution balances and the payment process, while monitoring their monthly payments until the reach the age of eighteen.
Our Review Monitor is Dorcas Olegario, (206) 205-477-4932.
The Community Programs Unit, in partnership with the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, employs a Juvenile Justice Navigator, whose position, through December 2017, will enhance the workings between large governmental agencies in order to provide justice involved youth with improved access to documents required for employment and general access to programs and services (birth certificates, driver’s licenses and social security cards). The Juvenile Justice Navigator also works to ease the process for juvenile record sealing, to improve access to transportation, and form gateway partnerships with financial institutions to increase financial literacy and agency for youth.
Our Juvenile Justice Navigator is Leonor Soliz, (206) 205-9492.
Partnerships with public and private sector businesses, youth service providers and community support are instrumental to Community Programs’ success.
Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County
City of Seattle Human Services Department
King County Employment and Education Resources
King County Department of Community and Human Services
Highline School District
Seattle Public Schools, Interagency
Communities in Schools Seattle
Rainier Chamber of Commerce
Urban league of Metropolitan Seattle
Columbia City Fitness
Columbia City Business Association
Catholic Community Services
Seattle Parks and Recreation
King County Parks and Natural Resources
King County Office of Equity and Social Justice, Lift Every Youth pilot program
Numerous businesses and youth serving organizations in King County
Provide a job shadow or career exploration opportunity with your business. Youth observe and write reports on various occupations they are interested in.
Provide a community service or public work project to afford youth the opportunity to help improve their community.
Provide a work experience (internship) site. The EET program can pay youth’s wages for internships of up to 150 hours of work experience. All work sites are vetted and developed to ensure youth gain positive work experience in a professional setting.