RENTON, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks announced today a commitment of $500,000 to the development of Seattle's Youth Achievement Center (YAC), which will provide vital housing and resources for BIPOC youth in South Seattle. The team has pledged to donate $100,000 per year for the next five years to the center, which will provide housing and support services to over 100 young people and serve as a community asset for generations. The YAC is currently in the capital fundraising phase of the project before building begins.
"The Seahawks believe in the mission of the Youth Achievement Center to offer a community-driven approach to providing vital housing and resources to Seattle-area BIPOC youth who need a safe and supportive place to call home," said Chuck Arnold, President, Seattle Seahawks and First & Goal Inc. "We are proud to showcase our commitment to this project through not only this donation, but by raising awareness through long-term fundraising and support."
Once built, the Youth Achievement Center will be located adjacent to the Columbia City Light Rail Station at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South & South Angeline Street in Seattle. The 45,000 square foot project is being developed by Africatown Community Land Trust and will ultimately be owned by Seattle's Community Passageways with Creative Justice as the operational and service provider. Once complete, in addition to housing, the center will also provide resources such as health care, childcare, counseling, and technology and financial education. Commercial spaces on site will provide job training and skill building opportunities.
"The Youth Achievement Center is a solution to some of our city's gravest issues. It is birthed out of the brilliance and creativity of youth most impacted by gentrification, homelessness, gun violence, and the school-to-prison pipeline," said Nikkita Oliver, Creative Justice Executive Director. "It is their lived experience, their hope and their vision for their neighborhood and families that has brought us to co-developing the YAC housing co-located with services that are culturally rooted and community-based. Together we are building pipelines to thriving communities and the Youth Achievement Center is only the beginning."
"The YAC will be a representation of healing for marginalized communities. It will give us the ability to have a safe space to provide necessary resources for youth and families of color. A space to feel supported, loved, appreciated while opening doors and pathways to success," said Dominique Davis, CEO, Community Passageways. "Communities of color have dealt with systems of oppression for decades and now it's time for us to set a new standard and expectations for people in our community to feel hope. We want to inspire them to go to the next level through education, economic success, and ownership. I want to thank the Seahawks for believing and investing in this vision."
"The YAC will be a model for how to provide housing and opportunity for youth around our region. By creating safe and supportive places for young people to call home, we can ensure everyone in Seattle and King County can grow up to be healthy, thriving adults," said King County Councilmember, Girmay Zahilay.
Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner is also involved in support of the project, including recording a PSA to raise awareness and encourage donations.
"The Youth Achievement Center is so important because it's crucial that kids have a place that they can feel safe and that they can call home," Wagner said. "People don't realize how much having a place like that impacts people's lives. The people who are going to change the world are the youth, so you want to make sure that they have the love and support they need to thrive in the world."
Supporting social justice causes, including initiatives that support youth, homelessness, and racial equity, is a year-round community priority for the Seahawks. The team has long-term relationships with both Community Passageways and Creative Justice, and has partnered with both organizations to launch documentaries In Community, By Community in 2020 and Out Of The Fire in 2019. This December, the Seahawks and Community Passageways will launch a new social justice documentary which will raise awareness for Community Passageways' "30 Days of Peace Program." The documentary follows the journey of local youth participating in the 30-day program, which takes those who are at high-risk of perpetuating or becoming victimized by gun violence to a 30-day offsite program. The goal of the documentary is to raise awareness around the issue of gun violence for youth and the work that organizations like Community Passageways are doing to prevent it. The documentary will launch on the Seahawks YouTube Channel on December 17.
As part of the NFL's "Inspire Change" social justice initiative, throughout the month of December the Seahawks will be encouraging fans to donate to the Youth Achievement Center through in-game messaging and the team's digital platforms. The team will also donate 12% of blanket sales at the Seahawks Pro Shop, as well as $.25 from every water bottle purchased at the Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 home games to the Youth Achievement Center.
For more information, or to donate, visit www.seahawks.com/yac.