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King County Executive
Dow Constantine

VIDEO: 'It can save lives': Creating safe, welcoming spaces that keep young people connected and ready to thrive


A new coffeehouse operated by a local nonprofit in North Bend is an example of how King County is partnering with communities to create safe, inclusive spaces that keep young people connected.


King County Executive Dow Constantine recently visited The Trail Youth Coffeehouse, operated by a local nonprofit in North Bend that successfully competed for Best Starts for Kids funding.

The new coffeehouse provides young people with a safe, welcoming space to connect after school and during summer months in a community where there are few options. Young people can stop by for a free cup of coffee, connect with a volunteer mentor, learn how to be a barista, participate in free music lessons, and organize events that give back to the North Bend community.

The Trail Youth is one of 32 community organizations that successfully competed for Best Starts for Kids’ Youth Development Initiative, which provides leadership opportunities, mentoring, and support that help young people reach adulthood connected, motivated, and ready to thrive.

The $400,000 in funding helped The Trail Youth convert the former barbershop into a coffeehouse. The funding also helps the staff and volunteers provide one-on-one mentoring and opportunities for young people to organize and lead community events, such as clothing drives.

North Bend neighbors, local businesses, and a television program that features nonprofits also donated time and resources to create the coffeehouse, which opened in June.

The Best Starts for Kids-funded initiative partners with community organizations throughout King County to provide young people with opportunities and tools they need to weather challenges during their teenage years. Here are two other examples of community-driven programs that successfully competed for funding:

  • With youth leadership and guidance, API Chaya created new social justice leadership and community-building opportunities for Pacific Islander, Asian, and South Asian immigrant youth. Young people have the opportunity to work with community-based mentors to develop their ideas, facilitate peer education workshops, and plan community-building events by and for youth.
  • The funding supports Urban Native Education Alliance in their ongoing effort to develop young leaders on their Clear Sky Native Youth Council. The program pairs adult mentors with Native youth to develop academic and leadership skills with the goal of improving education outcomes.

Promoting healthy, resilient children, youth, families, and communities

Best Starts for Kids is a voter-approved initiative led by Executive Constantine to put every baby born and every child raised in King County on a path toward lifelong success.

It invests in promotion, prevention and early intervention strategies that promote healthy, resilient children, youth, families, and communities. It is considered the most comprehensive approach to early childhood development in the United States, starting with prenatal support, sustaining the gain through teenage years, and investing in safe, healthy communities that reinforce progress.

Relevant links

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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