Thursday, March 25, 2010

First Place Announces Brand New Partnership

First Place is announcing an exciting and brand new partnership with Antioch University Seattle and City University of Seattle. Below is our press release with the details.

March 25, 2010

A Washington State Educational First:
Antioch University Seattle, City University of Seattle and First Place Form New Partnership To Help Kids and Graduate Students

SEATTLE — Antioch University Seattle, City University of Seattle and First Place proudly announce the formation of a multi-disciplinary partnership to meet the training needs of Antioch University Seattle and CityU of Seattle students and the service delivery needs of First Place school’s students and their families. This partnership is a first of its kind in Washington State.

All three institutions anticipate the pilot will begin in September 2010. At that time Antioch University Seattle Psychology students will work with children and families on site at First Place, impacting the community while receiving course and practicum hours toward their degree. In addition, students from CityU’s Albright School of Education will begin their practicum by working with students in classrooms at First Place.

“CityU is proud to partner with First Place to provide extended opportunities for our future Education and Early Education teachers so that they may hone their skills in a collaborative and unique learning environment, simultaneously serving the needs of this special community,” comments Dr. Steven Olswang, Provost, CityU. “Our long history of providing teachers who work with special populations fits squarely with the populations First Place serves.”

“Having our Psychology students getting practicum hours working with First Place children and families will allow us to send psychologists out into the community that are trained to handle both educational and social emotional issues that are faced by many children and their families, not just homeless families,” stated Dr. Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet, President of Antioch University Seattle. “This is new kind of community partnership and we are very proud to be a part.”

In the partnership, students from both Antioch University Seattle and CityU will provide clinical assessment, intervention, advocacy, classroom teaching and various support services. First Place will work with professionals and students from both universities on educational philosophy and pedagogy and the unique needs and strengths of their clients.

“CityU students will gain experience working with clinical psychologists in a classroom setting. Action research by CityU students will report on their efforts to expand teaching pedagogy through working with students coming from challenging home lives,” commented Craig Schreiber, Ed.D., associate dean, CityU’s Albright School of Education.

“First Place has a history of creating strong and lasting partnerships to fulfill our mission to provide stability and education to families at risk for homelessness,” said Dr. Doreen Cato, Executive Director of First Place. “Especially in these difficult economic times it is imperative that we work in concert with others who share our community goals. We have found just such a partner in Antioch.”

About First Place:
First Place is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization located in Seattle’s Central Area. Our mission is to educate and nurture children whose families struggle with the risk or reality of homelessness, where we offer housing, culturally relevant education and support services enabling families to achieve permanent stability. Our vision is hope, home and education for every child, one family at a time. Learn more at

About City University of Seattle:
Founded in 1973 in Seattle, Washington, City University of Seattle is a private, not-for-profit university that has awarded over 45,000 degrees and certificates worldwide. City University of Seattle’s goal is to change lives for the good by offering high quality and relevant online and in-class education options to any person in the world with a desire to learn. The university is comprised of The School of Management, The Gordon Albright School of Education and the Division of Arts and Sciences. Headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, City University of Seattle offers classes at locations throughout Washington, Hawaii, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Slovakia, Greece, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania, The Czech Republic and China.

About Antioch University Seattle:
Antioch University Seattle is a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education. Students’ passion to advance their lives, personally and professionally, is developed through academic programs that respond to the world’s needs. Students become educators, therapists and counselors, creative leaders and entrepreneurs who contribute to the common good. Together, we form a visionary community that strikes a rare—and essential—balance between idealism and experience. Learn more at

Chris Cooper, First Place, 206.388.7775

Leslie Cohan, City University of Seattle, 425.709.5403

Lori Dugdale, Antioch University Seattle, 206.268.4106

First Place Students Read 320 Books In One Day!

On Friday, March 19, 2010, First Place held it's first Read-A-Thon in honor of National Reading Month and the love of reading at the school. Every class participated from preschool in the Griffin Early Learning Center all the way up to 6th Grade. After every book read, students wrote the name of the book on a leaf and added it to a reading tree in the school's multipurpose room.
Students came to school in their pajamas and classroom had guest readers to help break up the day! Here is a picture of the final tree with all 320 leaves.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Action Alert: Support Housing Trust Fund

The Washington State Housing Trust Fund is a vital funding source in our state and we are at risk of losing this fund. We are re-posting information from the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and urging you to write to your Senator.

Just before the end of the regular session, the House of Representatives approved the Senate Capital budget with an amendment to fund the Housing Trust Fund with $50 million. An investment of this size will create at least 1,500 jobs, generate $10.3 million in taxes for local governments, and bring in $28.7 million in income for local businesses. Now is a critical time to contact your Senator to urge support for this critical investment.

It is your advocacy that will ensure the Trust Fund is funded at $50 million. Many of the projects that are "in the pipeline" and ready to begin will build housing for those who can least afford it - families and individuals struggling with or leaving homelessness, the disabled, and seniors on fixed incomes. Many of these individuals and families only source of income is the small $339 per month cash grant from the GA-U program. This tiny amount allows these Washingtonians to afford the basics like housing and food.

The Housing Trust Fund is essential to providing housing for those who need it the most. The Senate needs to know that the Trust Fund not only creates jobs, but also creates a path out of homelessness for thousands of people throughout Washington.

Contact your Senator today!

Read more from other organizations: YWCA Action Alert, Building Changes, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

First Place Graduate makes National Headlines

Breaking News!

First Place graduate, 11-year-old Marcelas Owens, has been advocating for health care in honor of his mother since he lost her in 2007. In the past year, Senator Patty Murray has been telling his story to advocate for better healthcare and has shared his story twice in front of President Obama.
His story is now being heard and seen by thousands of individuals through news coverage on MSNBC and CBS Evening News.

Today, March 10, is an important day for Marcelas as he speaks in Washington DC in front of Congress - it is also his eleventh birthday.

Read local stories on Marcelas: KING5, Q13 Fox, Seattle Times.

Hear Marcelas' story in person!

Marcelas will be speaking at our Annual Fundraising Breakfast on Wednesday, April 28, 2010.

RSVP today to hear this inspirational young man share more of his experiences and how First Place was a catalyst for his advocacy.

Learn more about the Annual Fundraising Breakfast.Marcelas Owens (left) with Tod Leiweke (right) at the 2009 Breakfast.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Unsung Heroes Rick Teegarden, TOPS School, and Ann Borwick

First Place really appreciates the generosity of our Seattle-area friends. We recently received several great donations that took a lot of planning and care by their organizers.

High school senior Rick Teegarden from Bellevue coordinated a drive that brought in over 2500 coats, a good number of which came to First Place. These coats will keep our clothing bank stocked for a good, long while. We really appreciate the time and efforts of caring community members like Rick. It’s especially inspiring to see the support from young people for their peers at First Place.

Rick was in 7th grade when he first began the coat drive. He was active with Bellevue Youth Link and its Teen Closet which at that time, he says, was woefully under-stocked for the winter months. So he took the idea of a coat drive to his middle school and got to work. Now he partners with several city shelters and justice organizations to make sure kids have the ability to stay warm during the chilly winter.

Our long-time friend Ann Borwick also sewed 60 pillow cases for the kids to take with them when they left for mid-winter break. The cases went into treasure boxes made by the TOPS 8th graders, with lots of other fun things inside like arts and crafts supplies.

Each pillow case is made from a different, colorful, kind-of zany pattern. First Place has received some great gifts from Ann in the past, such as aprons for the Griffin Early Learning Program to use when they practice painting and other crafts.

And don’t tell, but word is that Ann’s next project will be pillows and cases for preschool nap time. The kids will be excited when those arrive!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Classical Concert will Raise Awareness about Homelessness

Sing Us Home — A free classical concert to raise awareness about homelessness with 65-voice choir and orchestra.

Please join First Place Sunday, March 28th, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. at Seattle’s First Baptist Church for an afternoon of hope, community and music sponsored by Seattle First Baptist and The Greater Seattle Council of Churches.

Sing Us Home features an array of top notch musicians and soloists, including 65-singers, an orchestra, and the Lakeside High School Chorale.

The program will feature Henry Mollicone's Beatitude Mass (for the Homeless), written in 2005. Mollicone's music has been compared by reviewers to that of Bernstein, Britten, and Sondheim. His compositions are tuneful, dramatic, lyrical and powerful. The Beatitude Mass intersperses sections of the Latin Mass with texts from interviews with people living in homeless shelters.

This ten movement choral/orchestral work weaves four of the five movements of the ordinary of the Latin Mass with several other texts. The work begins and ends with beatitudes, a literary form which begins with the word "blessed" and, in this case, is applied to the situation of those who are homeless. No doubt this will be a powerful event that you will not want to miss. You can learn more about Henry Mollicone and the soloists here.

This event is free, however, there will be a free-will offering during the concert, but to increase the giving we are encouraging those who are able to purchase a donor pass in advance for $50 which will reserve you a seat. 100% of the donations will go to First Place.
If you are interested in a purchasing a pass you can do so:
Bring your relatives, colleagues, friends, and loved ones and enjoy an afternoon of music all to the tune of helping homeless families in the Puget Sound area.

Directly following the concert will be an awareness fair with local organizations who work to eradicate homelessness.

If you have any questions about this event, please email Melissa Collett at First Place.