For children and youth to succeed in school and in life their families need access to high-quality health care, affordable housing, healthy and affordable food, safe neighborhoods and economic opportunities. For this reason, the Seattle University Youth Initiative pursues numerous partnerships to foster vibrant and equitable neighborhoods for youth and their families.
Several specific strategies include:
- Advocating for affordable housing. By serving as one of the lead organizations in the Yesler Community Collaborative (an organizing effort for equitable neighborhoods), CCE has assisted with the development of a coalition of low-income housing providers committed to building additional affordable housing. The Center has also hosted neighborhood immersions and community meetings to enable campus and community leaders to learn from each other.
- Incubating small businesses and pursuing social innovation. Through the RAMP-up Program sponsored by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center within the Albers School of Business and Economics Seattle University students and faculty offer strategic and technical support to small locally owned neighborhood businesses.
- Contributing to public safety. Students and faculty from Seattle University’s Department of Criminal Justice have created safety plans and crime reports to assist leaders of neighborhood and community organizations in advocating for services and new policies.
- Providing free tax assistance. Seattle University accounting students prepare tax returns for neighborhood residents free of charge. The program is a joint venture between Seattle University, the United Way of King County, and the Internal Revenue Service.
- Supporting access to health care. Faculty and students from the Seattle University College of Nursing provide support to neighborhood and school health clinics and also assist with research and projects related to resident-driven community health issues.
- Investing in arts and culture. Faculty and students from the Seattle University Art and Art History department support neighborhood arts and cultural activities including the highly acclaimed Yesler Terrace Youth Media program that trains local youth to document and tell stories about their changing neighborhood.
- Supporting organizations led by people of color. Staff from the Center for Community Engagement are active participants in the Black Community Impact Alliance, (BCIA) a group of organizations serving and advocating for the Black Community in Western Washington. The Center also intentionally partners with organizations led by people of color to build the leadership capacity of neighborhood residents.