Each program at the Austin Foundation has a Word of the Day or daily theme, such as “perseverance,” “balance,” or “patience.” These themes dictate the activities and exercises that youth engage in throughout the afternoon, bringing together a holistic approach to health and fitness that includes physical, emotional, mental, and social components.
The Austin Foundation was a member of NAC’s 2017 Cohort program, funded by the City of Seattle and the Sheng Yen Lu Foundation, and will be returning again for the 2018 Cohort. This program provides one-on-one coaching, peer support and learning, and works through an in-depth work plan that is catered to each organization’s specific needs. The 2017 Cohort was an inspiring group of organizations, and Renato Foz and Khyree Smith from the Austin Foundation offered to share a few words about their work and experience from the past year.
The Austin Foundation provides free fitness-based programming for youth and their families, with the ultimate goal of making health and fitness accessible to everyone. They currently have programs at Washington Middle School, Rainier Valley Leadership Academy, New Holly Youth and Family Center, and Bailey Gatzert Elementary. Each program is adapted to meet the needs of the partner site, with services ranging from those geared to providing an outlet for expression to those providing a safe and encouraging environment for youth struggling with behavioral or mental challenges.
When asked about their experience working with NAC, the Austin Foundation emphasized how powerful it was to know that “there are people out there with like-minded values… and that we’re here to support each other.” Khyree and Renato discussed how it is motivating to know that there is an organization with their best interests in mind, and a network of people who all wish to help one another grow and succeed.
We are so excited about the work that is being done at the Austin Foundation and the growth they have sustained over the past year. We have learned so much from an organization with tremendous vision, and are honored to work alongside them as they strive to continue to put on programs that encourage youth to develop into the “compassionate, just, and healthy leaders of tomorrow.”