As part of Golden Key’s SPARK a Change initiative, aimed at serving underserved youth through literacy, education, and real-world preparedness, we at the UW chapter have created a tutoring/mentorship program at Mary’s Place – a shelter in Seattle for homeless families and their children. Our program’s mission is to ensure that the kids at Mary’s Place have the academic support necessary to continue to pursue higher education and achieve their goals. We believe that the children of Mary’s Place should not be hindered in their ability to chase their dreams because of their families’ unfortunate situation of being homeless.
Every week, two to three Golden Key volunteers go down to Mary’s Place, and work with the kids on their homework and reading. We are also working with our partner, The Princeton Review, to develop workshops at Mary’s Place to let the parents and students know about the college application process, how to fund college (e.g., applying for FAFSA, scholarships, financial aid, etc.), and how to prepare for the SAT and ACT. Additionally, we are looking to develop a mentorship component to our program, by having kids from Mary’s Place visit UW, and “shadow” Golden Key members to see the day in a life of a college student.
We are also looking into non-academic ways to engage the children and parents as well. Golden Key members have been enthusiastic in proposing ideas such as dance lessons, yoga/mindfulness sessions, science fairs, and more. There is so much potential for ways to help the families at Mary’s Place. We are very thankful for the people in our community, who have been extremely supportive of our program.
Relay for Life
Another big service effort of ours is raising money for cancer research and awareness through Relay for Life. Just about everybody has been touched by cancer in some way – whether it is a friend, family member, or you personally – cancer comes in uninvited, and destroys the lives of families around the world. Although science has made great strides in the fight against cancer, there is still a lot of work to be done. Every year we form a UW Golden Key Relay for Life team and take to the Husky Stadium to support those who are currently battling with cancer.
School Supply Drive
We hold a school supply drive every summer to collect supplies for the kids at Mary’s Place. Last summer, we posted up a table in front of Office Depot in UVillage, and asked people to donate an item after they had finished shopping. We collected roughly $500 worth of school supplies that day – including pencils, notebooks, binders, calculators, and more!