East African Community Services (EACS) inspires immigrant and refugee youth and families to thrive by offering high-quality after-school programs, parent leadership training, and other services.
EACS’s after-school programs go beyond helping kids with homework and improving academic performance. They also promote children’s social, emotional and cultural well-being, encouraging health self-esteem, self-image, leadership, and exploration of college and career opportunities.
Through a network of more than 15 community partners, the youth scholars of EACS get eye-opening experience with coding, robotics and other STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) activities. They also explore science and nature through interactive learning experiences with Woodland Park Zoo, Pacific Science Center, Museum of Flight and the Seattle Aquarium.
“Cultural relevance is a central part of EACS’ model. Every day, they bring in a different community member, including parents of participants, as part of the mentoring program and do a presentation on their career. The guests are always a person of color, and often an immigrant, which ensures that their stories resonate with the kids in the program. ”
Schools’ Out Washington writes of East African Community Services
Strengthening communities by empowering youth and families
In addition to after-school and mentoring programs for all East African youth, EACS offers a mentorship and empowerment program called Strong Girls, Powerful Leaders to build girls’ confidence in confronting sexism, racism, and xenophobia.
EACS offers citizenship classes for adults, led by volunteers who broaden students’ perspectives on American culture, life in a Constitutional Republic, and the power of the people in a representative democracy.
And EACS’ Parent Leadership Institute seeks “to civically activate East African communities to harness their collective cultural, economic and political power to affect an equity and justice agenda.”
Values that guide EACS’ programs for youth and families:
- Nurturing the whole-life development of East African youth from cradle to career
- Unapologetically embracing a growth mindset that centers the strengths of our community
- Intentionally creating space for all individuals to grow
- Demanding respect for diverse cultural perspectives
- Maintaining an open door policy that defers to community needs as they arise
East African Community Services is a 2018-21 recipient of Best Starts for Kids Quality Out-of-School Time funding for a place-based partnership. Learn more about Best Starts for Kids and School’s Out Washington.