Help save Magnuson Community Center!

Kids at summer nature programs (from website)

While you can probably hear a half a dozen languages bubbling up during workshops at the Magnuson Community Center, what rises above them all is the laughter of neighborhood kids and youth having a great time.

Just down the street from Solid Ground’s Brettler Family Place and Sand Point Family Housing, the Center is a vital part of what brings stability and safety to this community.

But unfortunately, according to Magnuson Children’s Garden Committee Co-Chairs Cindy Hazard and Emily Bishton, the City of Seattle’s 2012 budget process has given the Magnuson Community Center a “2b” rating, which will result in “a drastic cutback of Magnuson Community Center’s open hours and staff time, and will make it impossible for it to offer the kind of great programs and special events that we have all come to love.”

The Center has played an important role in the lives of the families living in Solid Ground’s transitional and permanent housing at Sand Point. Currently almost 200 kids live there, and another 40 or so are expected when new units are built next year.

“The Community Center plays a vital role in helping our families break away from the cycle of homelessness. Kids spending time there are supervised, active and learning about social interactions — they are also meeting other kids from the surrounding neighborhood, and vice versa, which helps them recover from any problems being homeless has caused,” said Tamara Brown, Solid Ground’s Deputy Housing Director.

“It’s so important that we give these kids the same chance that our own kids have had — to participate in team sports, to have fun, to be safe — intervening now can prevent a repeat of cycling back into homelessness like their parents.”

Summer activities like the Center’s Rock the Park “truly helped to change the lives of the kids who attended,” said Joanna Tarr, Children’s Case Manager at Brettler Family Place. “It gave them a feeling of belonging to and pride in the park where they live, and something positive to do with their time. The camp gave them the opportunity to experience many different activities … they were able to bond with each other, form positive relationships, and have the staff as wonderful role models. The kids so looked forward to the camp and often told me how much they enjoyed it and the staff.”

Unless the Center’s rating is restored to at least “2a,” these transformational programs will be cut.

But it is not too late.

You can email or call the City Council Parks Chair Sally Bagshaw at or 206.684.8801, and the Mayor’s office at or  206.684.4000, to tell them how you feel about Magnuson Community Center. Tell them which of their special events and programs you personally have been touched by. And ask them to restore Magnuson Community Center to at least a “2a” rating to help strengthen our community!

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