Youth services: Public, Non-Profit and After School
Although there are recreation and youth services east of 162nd Avenue, they in no way meet community needs to serve approximately 22,000 children age 8 to 18. Many are at the mercy of constantly changing funding levels. It takes significant time and resources to develop programs and services. When funding is decreased or eliminated those resources are squandered.
The Springwater District concepts include stabilizing funding so that non-profit organizations can leverage invested resources, using them to grow programs and services to actually meet all the community’s needs.
Currently there are few publicly funded recreation programs provided by the cities of Gresham, Wood Village and Fairview. Cities do work together and with community partners to connect citizens to recreation programs provided by non-profits and schools. There are three school districts within the Springwater region, serving over 22,000 students.
Investments in youth services pay social dividends and reduce the need for entitlement programs. In supporting out-of-school time programs graduation rates can increase, as well as subsequent college attainment and employability. Keeping youth engaged can decrease juvenile crime and the associated juvenile justice costs. Also, positive activities help to prevent high-risk behaviors that can lead to early pregnancy, mental health issues and addiction.
Here are some of the services we’d like to see more of:
The City of Troutdale has a small and very active recreation program. It primarily provides enrichment activities to children younger than 13, but there also are programs for children younger than 12 as well as adults, with a basketball program and a volunteer option for teens.
SUN stands for Schools Uniting Neighborhoods and the Sun Service System is designed to provide students with the tools they need to succeed academically, while providing families with streamlined social services access. In addition to continued education after school, students and families benefit from SUN-linked social and health services. Mental health groups, parenting programs, food boxes, dental and medical access are all part of the SUN service system.
Multnomah County manages the program and provides funding, along with local school districts and the City of Portland through its Children’s Levy. Their combined $7 million a year funds core services at 67 sites; however, this leverages approximately $17 million in other resources to local communities. System-wide, more than $30 million in additional funding is delivered through SUN Community Schools and regional school-linked centers.
SUN programs are open to all ages, from preschoolers to seniors, but focuses on students in each school’s immediate community.
There are 80 SUN Community Schools in six school districts throughout Multnomah County. This includes 36 elementary, 19 middle, 16 K-8, and nine high schools, many of which are in East Multnomah County. The Reynolds, Centennial, and Gresham-Barlow school districts all have SUN Community Schools. There are SUN programs in sixteen elementary schools, six middle schools and three high schools.
Funding can and does change from year to year, creating uncertainty for students, parents, and the community.
Schools are selected as a Sun Community School based on student poverty levels. In return, the schools provide the space for the after-school activities offered through the community schools. While the priority is for academic support, enrichment and recreation programs are also typically provided.
It is a group effort of youth, parents, local businesses, churches, libraries, and community organizations to create a support system to reach academic success, family self-sufficiency, and economic prosperity.
While SUN schools are typically the most prominent coordination point for enrichment and out-of-school time programs, the elementary, middle, and high schools may also have community partnerships that support out-of-school time programming. Some schools provide arts, reading, sports, and other culturally specific services through contracts. Other providers have sites or provide services in schools.*
Here are some other sources for details on after-school-time programs and recreation:
Catholic Charities El Programa Hispano
Rosewood Center - No direct programming
*If services are provided in the geographic area of the Reynolds, Centennial, and Gresham-Barlow school districts and are open to ALL youth, please contact us and we will add the information to this list.