Greater Spokane, Washington
- Community name: Greater Spokane
- Community or city website
- Population: 459,000
- Graduation rate: 80.5%
- Youth poverty rate: 16.8%
Greater Spokane, a fifth-time winner of the 100 Best Communities for Young People competition, has made youth a priority with its numerous programs that support the healthy development, protection and care of young children. The Spokane Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council started the Our Kids Our Business campaign, which has educated more than 1,000 professionals about the effects of complex trauma to children. Community service is also important here, where high school students regularly dedicate time to helping young children with the Inland Northwest Baby Program, an initiative led by a high school sophomore that holds routine drives for diapers and other baby supplies for low-income mothers. Greater Spokane also supports early child development with programs such as the Inland Northwest Alliance for Early Learning, which helps prepare children for kindergarten.
- The Spokane Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council has an initiative called “Our Kids Our Business,” which highlights issues surrounding child abuse and neglect.
- Inland Northwest Baby is a nonprofit, started by a high school sophomore, which holds routine drives for diapers and other baby items for low-income mothers.
- The Inland Northwest Alliance for Early Learning focuses on developing a coordinated system of supports for parents and children to promote kindergarten readiness.
- Project Safe Place offers more than 100 Safe Places for youth which combat child abuse and neglect.
- The Odyssey Youth Center offers a safe place for LGBTQA youth to participate in workshops that focus on life skills, social emotional support and leadership training.
- ICAN (Individual Credit Advancement Now) is a program that allows juniors and seniors who have failed a class to finish the credit online at the student’s school.
I had the opportunity to work with the Starfish Program, which lets children and teens spend quality time with kids like themselves. In a neighborhood, it would be very easy for them to make bad decisions, but the adults of the community are guiding them to do good things. This is a unique program because so many kids come, and it is such a family atmosphere.
As a kid there was always something to do, whether it was the Children’s Museum and the Mobius Science Center, where I discovered my love of science, or the Children’s Theatre, where I was able to be a part of plays!