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Since its official launch in early 2011, the Seattle University Youth Initiative (SUYI) has been lauded as visionary, collaborative and empowering for the Central District neighborhood near campus. SUYI, the university's largest-ever community engagement project, focuses on improving academic achievement for youth in the two-square-mile neighborhood that includes Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, Washington Middle School and Garfield High School.
Delegations from around the world come to Seattle University to look at the Seattle University Youth Initiative (SUYI) as a prototype for community engagement. The future focus will expand the focus to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, summer learning and support for the families, nonprofits and small businesses in the neighborhood.
By Annie Beckman
…This is the university’s largest-ever community engagement project focused on improving academic achievement for youth in the square-mile neighborhood that includes Bailey Gatzert Elementary School. Gatzert is the first focal point of the Youth Initiative, which also encompasses Washington Middle School and Garfield High School.
Those who shape and propel the Youth Initiative underscore that it’s a fitting reflection of the university’s Jesuit values and mission. Just ask President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., what excites him most about his presidency in this decade. Without hesitation, he’ll say the Youth Initiative.
Since its official launch in early 2011, the Youth Initiative is lauded as visionary, collaborative and empowering for this Central District neighborhood. In 2011–12, Bailey Gatzert had the highest academic growth rate of any school in Seattle, a testament to its impact.
There were compelling reasons to start with the neighborhood a few blocks south of SU. At Gatzert, 94 percent of students receive subsidized lunches, the highest percentage in the Seattle School District and an indicator that families here are at or near poverty level. For many, English isn’t their first language, which can intensify learning and parenting challenges. At Gatzert alone, 30 different languages and 71 dialects are spoken by students and their families. Neighborhood residents are 43 percent white, 25 percent Asian or Asian American, 22 percent African or African American and 10 percent Latino.
Read the entire story in Seattle University Magazine, Winter 2014.
Story about a COE graduate, Bonivi Caculitan Sanchez, MIT '12, who is a teacher at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School, featured in SU Magazine Winter 2014.
Learn more about Seattle University Youth Initiative's vision and goals, how to get involved, and how to support SUYI by visiting Seattle University's SUYI website.
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