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Submitted by TOGETHER!

Now that school’s out, summer is heating up! One thing we often forget and don’t talk about, though, is how the needs students and families experience during the school year don’t end in late June. That’s why we keep Community Resource Centers open through our Community Schools Program, run a free summer intensive in our Club House program, and continue work to match unaccompanied high school with Host families through our Host Homes program.

We do this with a values-based approach to advance equity, change systems, and build community, because when those most impacted by systems of oppression thrive, we all win. But it takes all of us to make that happen. We know when community comes together, great things happen. That’s been at the core of our philosophy since our founding in 1989. That’s why we are asking for our community’s support, and your support, to help meet the needs kids face this summer.

What are students and families needing in summer, you might wonder? The same things as during the school year. Students and families count on TOGETHER! to come through with snacks, shoes, support for car repairs to keep employment, and more. Can you help our Community Schools, Club House, and Host Homes Programs with a contribution to our snack and product drive?  Here’s what we need…

Snacks

Hi-C juices, Kool-Aid Jammers and Bursts, Little Hug Barrels juices, Capri Sun, Gatorade (small size), Propel, bottled water,

Pop tarts (cinnamon or blueberry), chips (individual size variety or spicy pack), goldfish crackers and pretzels (individual size), granola bars chocolate chip, whole grain, but all need to be nut-free), small boxes of cereal (variety pack, individual serving size), fruit snacks, Little Bite muffins, powdered donuts, chocolate donuts, cookies (individual serving size, variety pack or graham crackers), apple sauce (personal size), oatmeal packets

Hygiene

Travel-size and full-size deodorant; ChapStick/lip balm; shampoo, conditioner, & body wash (travel and full sized); laundry soap

Other Essentials

Gift cards for gas or groceries in any denomination (must useful is $20 or $25 or more)

Drop off of these donated items is welcome 9am-4pm Monday-Friday at our headquarter office: 1520 Irving St. SW, Ste. A Tumwater, WA 98512. Don’t forget to include your name and contact info so we can properly thank you!

If you shop online, you can check out our Amazon wish list and have things shipped direct to us.

If donating things isn’t your thing, make a gift large or small to the Swift Fund! Named in honor of our founding Executive Director, Earlyse Swift, the Swift Fund enables TOGETHER! to meet emergency student and family needs and/or emergent community needs swiftly because EVERY week clients come to us seeking help with pressing bills, to prevent eviction or get rehoused rapidly, or in need of food or other basics. We work partners to leverage all available resources, with great success, and sometimes, we still can’t meet the pressing needs of our students and families.

Still curious about other ways to support? Read our most recent eShare newsletter, sign up to receive future newsletters, or register to golf with us at our TOGETHER! Fore Kids tournament! When you donate items or funds, you’re advancing educational equity and directly supporting Club House, Community Schools, and Host Homes students and families.

Club House is a free, before- and- after-school and summer program featuring project-based learning and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math focused activities, as well as bilingual programming and cultural education in English and. Offered September – June, plus intensively during summer to deliver structured academic, enrichment and social skill-building programming, Club House is 100% free of charge in select North Thurston Public Schools including Spanish at Lydia Hawk & Pleasant Glade Elementary and Chinook and Nisqually Middle Schools, based on academic and economic need data. Student choice is a central component of the curriculum, and students have become increasingly focused on climate justice and music this year.

Community Schools provides wraparound supports to K-12 students and families in Olympia, Tumwater, and North Thurston schools district. Community Schools are both places (with school-based and mobile Community Resource Centers), and a set of partnerships between school and community resources. Using schools as hubs, Community Schools bring community supports and remove barriers for students and families.

Host Homes launched as a pilot this past year, informed by the Host Homes Model, Best Practices and State law; the purpose of Host Homes is to match unaccompanied high school students in North Thurston and Tumwater High Schools with community Host Families and support students to set and meet their own goals. Host Homes matches receive case management and a range of supports.

Since 1989, TOGETHER! has been on a mission to advance the health and wellbeing of all young people. TOGETHER!’s work is poised at the cutting edge of public health science and educational justice, strategically working to achieve a vision that all young people are supported, safe and valued. To learn more, visit the TOGETHER! website.

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