Shaping the future by supporting our teens

“What can city government do, on its own and in partnership with private and public partners, to ensure that all children have opportunity to succeed?” Government leaders consider this question when planning for multiple aspects of city life, and the answers are critical for young people. The simple fact is, we all benefit from having a population of healthy, engaged and productive youth.

Positive teen development is a strong focus at Seattle Parks and Recreation, and we support it with programs that meet recreational, academic, social, and work-related needs for young folks. From job and volunteer opportunities to tech training and service learning, we offer many ways for teenagers to stay engaged and make the most of their time out of school. The programs below are some of the ways SPR supports teens:

Job Opportunities are essential for personal growth, community involvement, and skill building. Some jobs pay; others offer a stipend or service hours. Research, social justice projects, environmental stewardship, and internships in athletics, fashion design, digital media, and cooking are among the possibilities for work.

Service Learning combines meaningful community service with experiences of civic responsibility. Teens can pursue lifeguard training, help build or maintain trails, take on projects with the Green Seattle Partnership, and more.

O2, which stands for Outdoor Opportunities, is a free outdoor expedition program designed to expose multi-ethnic, high school teens to environmental education, urban conservation, and stewardship. Their Fall calendar includes overnight trips, workshops, and other offerings.

RecTech teaches technology at five community centers (Delridge, Rainier, Rainier Beach, South Park, and Yesler), providing consistent, positive, and productive activities after school. These include tutoring, internships, and other tech workshops to help youth become engaged members of the community.

Three Teen Life Centers (Garfield, Meadowbrook, and Southwest) schedule a wide array of programming for Seattle youth, including special events, till-midnight programming on Fridays and Saturdays, computer labs, recording studios, cooking classes and more.

Research shows that active, engaged teens perform better in school, are happier, have better self-esteem and better social relations, are less likely to suffer from depression and obesity, and become healthier and more active adults. What more could anyone want for our young people?

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