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Metro Parks middle school youth development programs recognized for quality

November 1, 2015

Seattle-based Raikes Foundation recognizes effort as among best in Pierce County

A Seattle foundation that aims to empower young people to transform their lives has honored Metro Parks’ middle school program with an award for its continual commitment to quality.

Representatives of the Raikes Foundation presented the 2015 Youth Program Quality Initiative Pinnacle Award to members of Metro Parks’ youth services team at an event Oct. 19 at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The award, together with a $500 prize, means Metro Parks middle school program stands out as tops among other youth development programs in Pierce County.

cookingYouth services coordinator Brian Pitt and site coordinators Alicia Mathurin, Renee Ward and Julie Reddaway accepted the honor on behalf of Metro Parks. Tareena Joubert, manager of Metro Parks community and youth services, commended members of her team for their hard work on quality, not only in the middle school programs but in summer and other year-round youth programs.

Last year, nearly 670 students participated in Metro Parks after-school programs at Stewart, Truman and Meeker middle schools. Recently, Giaudrone Middle School became part of the mix.

Quality programs promote a sense of purpose and individual empowerment in youth where they participate in the planning and exercise choice and leadership. Among other things, that means middle schoolers recommend specific activities of interest so that Metro Parks can bring them into each school. So, for example, a cooking club won’t be launched unless students are eager to join. The same would be true for coding, kayaking or dancing, among others.

“The YPQI standards have significantly helped our programs identify what areas to improve to better meet the needs of youth and the results have definitely merited increased participation in our programs,” Joubert said.

The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation provided leadership and training to mentor staff and launch the efforts as well as for other providers in Pierce County.

Learn more about Metro Parks' middle school programs.

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