The Service Board Programs
Filling the void left by under-funded schools and parents, who in many instances work 12-hour days, TSB strives to create a mutually supportive network of young adults and mentors. Our notion of a healthy community embraces the spirit of participation and access, whether it is taking kids raised in the shadow of Mt. Rainier for their first trip to the mountains, exposing them to new ideas, foods, and cultures, or showing youth career opportunities and ways of broadening their life path.
The Service Board curriculum actively encourages connections by facilitating the union of hundreds of individuals for a seminal experience that marks the often-difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood. By the end of our six-month core season, participants have begun to transcend gender, race, and class lines to form a unique community. With new skills, confidence and a network of supportive adults, friends, and service providers, TSB youth take on active roles and become catalysts for change in their communities. Using our intensive service projects as templates, TSB youth further impact change in the lives of those around them. Together, the future generation of Seattle gets first-hand experience in building vibrant communities.
Our sixth-month winter program provides a range of inter-connected activities that allow youth to form trusting relationships with adult volunteer mentors. Snowboarding serves as a healthy (and cool) recreational tool to engage youth, as well as a bonding experience as youth and mentors ride (and fall) down the mountain together. Weeknight programs focus on life skills, social justice, and art to build cross-cultural understanding, confidence in identity, and positive self-expression. The program's service component builds a sense of community (both within the group and with the larger community) and instills the belief that together we have the power to create change. Collectively, the Service Board provides 3,800 community service hours and more than 248 contact hours with each youth participant over the course of the six-month program. All of this is solidified with healthy home-cooked meals and strong relationships between youth and adults.
Over the summer we began a new program called Arts in Service. Participants will meet twice a week at Youngstown to receive in depth arts instruction, discuss the value and relationships between art, social justice and service, and complete intensive community service projects. Art sessions include metal works projects, t-shirt making at the Vera Project, mural painting in our community. Youth have an opportunity to showcase at our "TSB Art Walk". Youth participants are eligible to receive stipends for their work. While youth will not be compensated for service projects, they will receive up to 30 hours of service learning credit towards high school graduation.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
One powerful success story is that of Julius, a TSB Peer Leader. When he joined TSB in 2008, Julius had dropped out of school but kept coming to TSB. His plan was to study for his GED, but he lacked the support system to make it happen. By the end of the year, he decided he wanted to return to program in 2009 as a Peer Leader. We were thrilled, but told him we'd only accept him if he returned to school. Today this incredible Peer Leader is back in school and has completed his sophomore year. We recently asked him how it was going. His face lit up as he reported, "I've never kept my grades up past the first two weeks of school. You know, last year I had decided that high school couldn't work for me. I had decided to give up and find another way. It was TSB that got me to go back; TSB showed me how important my future was."
We are seeking support in a variety of ways:
- Donations of snowboard helmets and other new or gently used gear for our youth
- Marketing consultation
- General operating support
- Office supplies, including toner and a new multi-use printer
- Volunteers to cook for our program nights