Each year, families rely on Boys & Girls Clubs to provide a safe, positive place for more than 17,000 King County kids. We believe in their physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being. Closing the opportunity gap, improving grades, reducing high school drop-out rates, and teaching kids to see themselves as learners is crucial. Our programs also reduce juvenile crime rates and instill an attitude of community engagement. Best Starts for Kids, King County Proposition 1, is a critical tool to support these goals.
Best Starts for Kids funding will benefit youth development programs and our community by investing in the following:
• Strategies focusing on children under age five and pregnant women, such as home visits for new parents and their children.
• Strategies focusing on children and youth age 5-24, such as early intervention to prevent teen depression and substance abuse.
• Creating safe and healthy communities, such as increasing access to healthy, affordable food and expanding economic opportunities and access to affordable housing.
• Creating a youth and family homelessness prevention initiative modeled on a successful pilot implemented by organizations serving survivors of domestic violence.
• Evaluation, data collection, and improving the delivery of services and programs for children and youth. This will ensure Best Starts for Kids strategies are tailored for children from every background.
The lack of early support for children results in costly interventions later in life, and incarceration is the most costly and least effective intervention.
Continued action needs to be taken to strengthen the future of our kids. The demand for youth development programs continues to rise. Safe, healthy communities reinforce a child’s early development and provide a fair chance at success, regardless of where they live or their family income. The proposed levy would affect property owners minimally each year compared to the good it can do.
Not only will this levy help our children, it is a program for continued economic growth because it will help us nurture the problem solvers and innovators our communities need.
We wish to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. It takes all of us to ensure children and teens are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. Public investment is required to make this happen. We urge people to vote YES on King County Prop. 1 by election day, Nov. 3.
President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County Calvin L. Lyons